dogs are like people (my dogs would say that’s a myopic point of view). some are simply more perceptive. empathetic. able to put their own wants and needs aside to focus on the needs of others. and to uplift their objects of attention and devotion to a far, far better place.
tonight, our English bulldog Elroy sensed my heavy heart. as i sat on the edge of the bed, feet dangling, he stretched to rest his head on my knee. ears down and big brown eyes peering up, his attempt alone brought comfort. grateful—and because he was clearly too short to reach me—i jumped off the bed and rubbed his head with thanks. he returned the favor with a little bulldog snort. um, if you’re already down here, would you mind scratching my back??
Hannah, my beloved bloodhound, shared some of Elroy’s admirable qualities: there when i needed her, asleep if i didn’t. well, unless something piqued her delicate sense of smell. then i could expect to be completely abandoned. sweet and generous to a fault, she forgave me for all the times i came home late from work. one hundred twenty five pounds of loose skin and wrinkles, Hannah’s constancy got me through some of life’s most-challenging transitions. i treasure every bit of her slobber that remains on my furniture to this day.
in contrast, Winnie, the English bull terrier, is the center of her universe. excuse me, bark, it’s time for my breakfast (or lunch or dinner). helloooo, bark, i want to go out now. hey, bark, can you open the door to the deck, so i can go sun bathe? oh, bark, when you open the pantry door, don’t forget to give me my treat. but she’s as endearing as she is demanding. and if i hadn’t catered to her every whim for the last 12 years, she would have an entirely different attitude. or not. she is, after all, a terrier.
to all of them, thanks for being there for me. hope i’ve done the same for you.