Our dogs. They are so very different. Tonight after dinner, I took all three outside for a walk. This is a real stretch for Maxine, our oldest. She is about 17 years old by our best measure. Mostly blind, deaf, and incredibly frail. When we got outside this evening, though, she scampered around like a little puppy. So full of vigor and zest. But because of concern, I went where she wanted to go.
A few minutes passed and she was headed back toward the general direction of the house. At least she still knows where the house is, I think.
Frances is old too. Once I put Max inside, I continued on with the France and Ollie. There were two bunnies and three squirrels down by the deer feeder. They knew we were coming, and all scurried out of sight, save for one bunny. Frances put on her stalking hat. She started her little army-crawl-sneak-walk and finally burst out at top speed. Albeit, top speed isn’t really so top any longer. The bunny disappeared in the tall, thick grass. Five years ago, Frances would have given chase. Tonight she pulled up her gate, turned to me, and almost smiled…. like… “Well. That was pointless.”
And Ollie. Probably around 7 or 8 years old at this stage of the game. She was off, exploring the scents of the unknown. Dashing this way and that. She sometimes reminds me of one of the cartoon hound dogs, the way she puts the nose to the ground …. and zigs, and zags.
Once we were all back inside, Maxine and Frances plopped down on their beds and passed out. Ollie went over to the TV and watched a dog jumping through a routine on America’s Got Talent.
These dogs are my friends. They are a part of my family. I talk to them, and… on most occasions…. they talk back. We play good games. We relax. We walk. We explore. They know my emotions, better than most people. They are keen, intelligent, funny, and kind. They love, in an unconditional way. Again and again and again.
And that last part is why I love them so much. Not so much because they make me feel good. (Which they do.) But they set an example with their unconditional love. I am pretty sure that is what we humans are supposed to do. And yet we struggle to exemplify this. Those dogs do it without another thought or a misstep. So very fine and good of them.
So very fine and good.
“I think… if it is true that
there are as many minds as there
are heads, then there are as many
kinds of love as there are hearts.”
― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
“The closest thing to being cared for is to care for someone else.”
― Carson McCullers, The Square Root of Wonderful