Monday, August 17, 2009

AKC Registered -- Or Not

Lily is a good dog. She loves to go with me when I walk or run down the long dusty roads at Sandhill. She growls alertly at anything or anyone she deems suspicious and she generally comes when she is called.

She lets you know that she wants to be petted by lifting her left front paw and patting whatever part of your body is within reach. She likes to have her belly scratched, but is willing to settle for a quick pass with the bottom of my shoe. She has the square jaw of at least one boxer relative somewhere in her genetic past and when she smiles the lower cuspid on one side of her mouth sticks out over her upper lip making her looking a little like Popeye.

Lily is a good dog. And I love her.

But I have not forgotten Ginny. And sometimes, when I see the long face and sunshine-colored hair of someone else’s golden retriever, my heart clutches just slightly and for a moment I am sitting on the laundry room floor, holding Ginny in my lap, crying over some heartbreak and wiping my eyes with her silky ears.You never get over your first dog.

Which is why, this morning, already running a little bit late, I had no choice but to pick him up. I’d come to the stop sign at 301 and, looking to the left for oncoming traffic, saw this glorious golden retriever loping along the side of the too-busy highway. He walked straight up to the car (Goldens are like that. They trust everyone and believe with all their hearts that everyone loves them.) as though he’d been expecting me.

I got out and reached for his collar, one of those flourescent orange ones with the brass nameplates, the kind that hunters use. This was seen as an invitation to frolic and he began licking my hands and dancing around my legs, wiping me with the dirt and dew that his fur had collected in his wanderings.

Realizing that I’d never be able to read a name or telephone number off his collar unless he was confined, I opened the back door of the car and he jumped right in. I called the number, left a message and turned around to take him back to the farm where he could safely await his master. It took less than 10 minutes and, while I drove, I thought about Ginny.

This dog was lighter in color, bigger in size, a male. Not really much in common with Ginny, except the breed. And that was enough. Enough to let me know that I didn’t need to be afraid of him and that he would gladly accept my kindness.

It occurs to me people are like dogs in that way: We each have our breed. Some of us are chihuahuas, in constant motion, nipping at the heels of anything that moves, yapping constantly. Some of us are poodles, delicate and high-strung. Some of us are boxers with imposing physical presences and Forrest Gump personalities. And, just like dogs, while we’ll travel in a pack of pretty much any combination, but we’d really rather be with some of our own.

Just as I was getting my new friend into the dog pen, his master returned my call, got directions and started our way. I backed the car up and started for the office for the second time this morning.

I didn’t realize until later that I’d not noticed his name. It was on the collar, along with his master’s name and telephone number, but I hadn’t noticed it. It didn’t matter. I knew his breed and that was enough.

Copyright 2009

1 comment:

Lynn Nash said...

What breed do you think I would be? Probably something noisy! You would be a breed that gives just the right blend of comfort and activity to the people that love you.