Math is something that a lot of people take comfort in. Even though it has been half a decade since my last math class, I take solace in knowing that there are still things in the world that will always have the same answer. Seven and seven will always make fourteen, no matter who loves fourteen or if it is illegible. This is unconditional, it’s certain.
I’m not really great at math. I love the logic. There is clarity in finding a solution to an equation because the world has endless problems. At least I always knew the ones I carried in my algebra books were something that I could solve, even if I never had any important answers. I could not answer “who am I?” and “where am I going?”, but seven and seven would always be fourteen. This is certain. I spend a lot of time thinking about what is certain in life, and I’ve come to a few conclusions.
There is only one other thing that is as certain as science, and that is dogs. Dogs are as sure and as unconditional as math can be, and like math, dogs are something I can take comfort it. So, that brought me to wonder, can dogs be math?
I know they can’t add, even if they can tell that the other dog got one extra treat. They can’t divide anything but a bed. They don’t subtract anything but food from our plates, and the only thing they multiply is the number of dogs in a house because… who stops at one? Dogs are somehow irrational AND real… They are both composite AND prime… so that leaves me to wonder: what is the square root of dogs? What, multiplied by itself, is a dog?
They have four legs and four paws. One nose. Two ears, two eyes. None of those things makes a dog. In fact, a dog can exist without an ear, an eye, a paw. Those are parts of the equation, but not what makes the dog. You can still find “dog” as an answer even if he is missing a couple parts.
I spent much time trying to figure out if there was anything, when broken down, that would make a dog if I multiplied it by itself.
The answer wasn’t cats, or children, or bees or sugar. (It also wasn’t dog treats, but my dogs were pleased with the experiments).
If a dog has no square root, maybe they aren’t math? Maybe two things (dogs and math) can be unconditional, certain, logical and comforting but not be at all related? All along, I thought dogs were a science, but all I was finding is that they’re a friend.
Then it hit me!
Dogs ARE the square root.
They don’t have one, but they are one.
The answer, then, seemed more obvious to me. I can’t believe I missed it.
Dogs are the square root of love.
A dog, times itself, is love,
and again times itself is more,
soon you’ll be on dog number four.
The truth, I’m certain,
the answer, the fact:
love is the answer to
a dog times itself.
Not even a professor
could question this math.
You can add dogs,
one – two – three,
You can subtract them
(for a rehoming fee!)
You can divide dogs –
but only to sleep,
but you’ll be up before long,
because the dogs need a treat.
You can multiply dogs!
The answer is pups,
and each one of them
is a square root of love.
You will find that all dogs are prime,
but that doesn’t mean
that they’re not complicated, at times.
They’re irrational when tired,
and it’s probably best
(if you don’t mention “Vet”)
All dogs are real,
the realest of things,
they’re real to us, when nothing else is.
Each one is a composite,
made of many things,
different sizes, colors, all different breeds.
Some love walks, others love naps,
you’ll never meet a dog that doesn’t love snacks,
some of them short, some of them fat,
some of them scruffy, and others not so much,
some of them heal (okay, all of them) –
they’re the realest of things,
the realest of friends,
some bark all day and some only bark
at the worst possible times
(when you’re alone in the dark),
but no matter how different,
the math is the same,
the answer to “dog”
is the square root of love.
(Artist: Martin Elliot Keast)
Story & poem by Angel Rosen. Original Art by Martin Elliot Keast. Freeware clip art used. Happy Birthday to Dr. Stephanie McCaslin!