Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Moments of Simple Joy - the dog

Who would have thought this bundle of energy could bring me such joy. Especially the way it started!

We had been family to 3 dogs for a long time. Two Great Dane - English Mastiff mixes and a German Shepherd mix. Thirteen years of 400 pounds of dog! Whew! Then, the same year my marriage died, one by one, the dogs did too.

Two years later, it was time. The paper arrived. The "pet of the week", was an 8 week old chocolate lab pup. I asked the kids what they would name him? "Brownie!" "Jake!" (WHAT was I thinking?)

The next morning, "Jake" was a part of our family - and part of my "Conspiracy of Sleeplessness". I'd forgotten how much attention an "infant" needs - day and night. I'd forgotten how much puppies liked to chew. And I'd forgotten how much energy labs have - and for how long!

His submissiveness at the pound, where we first met, turned out to be sickness. Once he was well, the battle for "alpha" began....and continues. It is improving, but reminders remain necessary.

Yet, despite the fact that he can get on my very last nerve. He does bring me great joy. He comes and sets his head briefly on my shoulder while I sit on the porch steps in the morning. He is a walking partner. And the past few days, he has made me LAUGH OUT LOUD!

The first day, I had been "Tending the Earth" (AKA spreading mulch). I decided to let him run free from his fenced portion, while I watered the transplanted bushes at the edge of our backyard. I looked over my shoulder, and there he was - running around, with the old plastic mulch bags in his mouth. He'd gotten the prize! There he'd run, just out of reach, encouraging me to play 'tag'. I walked up to him, he ran. He stopped. I walked up to him, he ran. One time, when I thought I was close enough, I ran after him, reaching for the plastic bags. As he took off, I leaned forward and ended up rolling in the grass, laughing so hard I couldn't speak. (I'm sure I was a sight to see!). At this point, he came over to see what was so funny, and lay the bags near my head.

The second day was bath day. The bath itself was uneventful. When he had dried, I put the flea and tick repellent on him. It was the liquid kind - but the "non-toxic" liquid kind. I think it smells wonderful, but apparently, Jake does not. Once the last of the lemongrass-cinnamon-peppermint oil mixture was on his back, and he was set free, I sat back on the chair on the deck. When I turned to look out at him, there he was, running, then diving onto his back, as if he were hoping to find something to roll in that would mask his new smell. It was the funniest thing. Over and over again, he'd run, dive and roll. And once again, there I sat, laughing out loud - Joy overflowing. The dog stopping his rolling long enough to glare at me briefly.... and rolled some more.

No comments: