I was working in food service, as many artists do. The pretty Indian summer weather had the patio’s tables filled with Durhamites soaking up the leisurely descent into fall. Assigned to an indoor section, I ventured outside to help with bussing tables. And it was then I saw him.
He was a pug dog puppy perched on the bench and leaning up against his mistress, cool as a cucumber.
He looked like a small wingless owl, or an animatronic puppet of a furry, yet adorable, old man.
Those soulful eyes, so much older than his four month old body, looked right through me, and I was in love.
That was six years ago, but since then, I’ve rarely gazed upon a dog sans a longing in my own heart. That little pug puppy set my dogicological clock a-ticking.
First, it was frequent visits to the Mid Atlantic Pug rescue site. Then I expanded to the Boston Terrier Rescue of North Carolina. I’ll never forget my joy as I learned that Kevin (a special-needs Boston with a club foot) had been adopted almost immediately.
I dog sat. I cat sat. I fell in love with…
Meatball the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog,
Leroy the Beagle (and convenient space-heater),
Tril and Rune the Husky Twins,
Moose the German Shepherd and
Jake the Red Heeler.
I could pretend for a weekend at a time that we were a pack, and that (should the world burn to ashes) we would live under the big sky with just a blanket and each other.
You know, like Lorenzo Lamas– Renegade.
A friend and I conspired in dog fantasies. What type would we adopt? What would we name them? What would they be like? Talk about enablers…He joked, “are we in a race to adopt a dog?” Certainly not, I assured him. But a week later he got an email that said,
“If we are indeed in a race to adopt a dog…I’ve won.”
Suzuki and Ume (Ooo-meee) the Rescue Chihuahuas have been with me for five months, and I literally love them more everyday. They are my perfect match. Suzuki is a delicate little goofball, quick to wag her tail and roll over for a tummy rub. She eats invisible crumbs off the floor and does downward dog with her gimpy back leg sticking out behind her in a perfect arabesque.
Ume is a regal little thing with disproportionately giant ears. She wants nothing more than to fall asleep under my arm and she does a happy dance when I come home.
They love to sit on my lap. They love dehydrated ham. They love going on walks. My dancing enchants them and my made-up songs featuring their names beguile them. Every day their shyness fades. Interestingly, they still hate little girls, which, as Patricia
points out, “They’re you’re target demographic!”
But the ways of dogs are not for mere mortals to understand.
My point is this: if you are toying with the idea of adopting a dog or dogzzzz, please do it. If you have love and time to give, there is no downside. It is a technicolor Golden-age musical. It is also a lot like what Annie Sullivan went through in trying to break through to Helen Keller. Or like what I imagine introducing a rural Australian rancher to modern Tokyo would be: an adventure in communication.
They make me kinder. They soften the edges of my day. I laugh more, I say I love you more, I give and get more kisses. They help me stay present and engage fully in the moment.
Especially if that moment includes petting Ume’s satellite dish ears.
Orange County Animal Shelter here in Central North Carolina is having “Adopt a Dog Month.” Many dogs are being adopted at a reduced rate of $60!! And to show you what kind of awesome dogs are available, here’s Seargent. Take it away, Seargent!
Well said. ❤