Good dogs when they die

December 6, 2011

I became a vegetarian at about 7 years old. My mother loves to tell the story about how I asked her whether I could be a vegetarian, but still eat bacon and ham and cheese croissants. She said no.

Although I didn’t want to eat meat, I was not too concerned about contamination. My friend Mo would give me the outside of her chicken nuggets and my little sister kindly passed along the wrappers of her pork potstickers. I thought myself very clever to have managed to finagle the best parts without violating the letter of the law. So I was surprised to learn today that potsticker skins are simply steamed noodles, ie. flour and water. Perhaps my little sister was wiser than I thought.

Now, I can fill my dumplings with whatever I please and then eat the whole thing. These ones enclosed mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, ginger, garlic, shallots, and cilantro.

For the past year, cooking wontons at my family’s house meant only one thing: Cooper’s dinner. I doubt any of us will be able to smell the unique combination of steaming oil and Chinese seasonings without remembering that small gray poodle who warmed our laps over the years. So, naturally, there was only one choice for my afternoon guest.


I ate my potstickers with sriracha, Cooper ate his plain, neither of us used chopsticks, and we both licked our bowls clean.

Then we took each other for a walk.

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5 Responses to “Good dogs when they die”

  1. halenancy said

    Oh, that is the loveliest eulogy. I miss Cooper, but I miss you more.

  2. Sally said

    Thank you Gemma…for such an intimate and simple story of the great Cooper

  3. Tori said

    Hmmmm. Now I’m already worrying about my ode to Yoda, Afraid it won’t be quite that simple and lyrical.

    More like I ate the wrapping and he ate the postman….

  4. Lauren Valente said

    Jemma- I miss you little lady. I am terribly sorry to hear about Cooper. He was perhaps the best dog I have ever known. I will never forget the time last summer when I got lost taking him for a walk. Love to you.

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