Henry and Oliver. Henry’s ear is inside-out again. I’ve told him it looks ridiculous, but he said it’s important that he remain vigilant for the crinkle of a treat bag.

No rain today, according to forecasts. The trails are open again and the buddies are ready to go. They know all the signs: Mom’s opening the sock drawer. She’s getting the right pair of shoes, and the earbuds, and the keys. Is she, is she? She IS! She’s going for the leashes! This is the best thing that has EVER HAPPENED!

They’re hilarious together: one with itty Dachshundesque legs, the other like Bambi on ice. Though I adore purebreds and can binge on Crufts all day, I prefer dogs of spurious origin, the ones that got lost and found their way to me. It feels more like a story that way.

Oliver would have a doozy to tell, I’m sure of it. He had no idea how to walk on a leash when we got him at three years old, and it’s pretty clear he’d never seen a bike or a skateboard. God knows what happened in somebody’s kitchen. But he’s incredibly gentle and kind, and spends most of his time under my bed, emerging like a benevolent hobgoblin when someone’s offering a walk or some dinner, or maybe a scratch behind the ear. Both these guys trot along like soldiers now when we hit the trail, and it feels wonderful to have their company on a cool and cloudy day. How did I ever get along without them.

Any buddies at your place?

4 responses

  1. Oh yeah. The graceful sensitive poodle who gets upset if I ever slightly raise my voice—which as a Jew I do often to properly express myself—and the enthusiastic red-headed demon puppy—“Hi I’m Alice, nice to meet me!” They are so complicated and lovely I can’t even talk about it in grammatically correct sentences

    • When I was a teenager I used to house-sit for a friend who had a black standard poodle, and he was the sweetest guy ever. That big puff of fur on the top of their heads, I mean…

  2. “This is the best thing that has EVER HAPPENED!” Exactly! Dogs have so much to teach us, not the least of that being enthusiasm, living in the moment, and investing their time fully in whatever they’re doing — whether that’s playing, working, or relaxing.

    They are also great at saving lives — and most of that lifesaving is the daily sort that goes mostly unnoticed.

    I’ve had so many lovely dog-friends, but the buddies here are kitten-cats now. Indoor cats who lead pretty full lives without ever going outside to kill things. They are lovely sisters, and so very different. One has taught itself to play fetch, which she does every morning for about fifteen minutes or so, as fast and keen-chasing and diligent as any dog.

    We humans are lucky all these wonderful creatures deign to give us their time, let alone their pure hearts. Henry has the right idea with that ear thing. Tell him I’m going to try it.

    • I love cats. There’s something so satisfying about their purring, and I like how they can be dignified and ridiculous at the same time. As opposed to dogs, who mostly throw dignity out the window. I’d be a cat-lady for sure, but I’m desperately allergic.

      Animals are too good for us all around.