She was anxious to see me; However, it was almost like she knew I settled a few words about her on blog pages. The look of, “C’mon, Doug … really? Again?” gleaming across this face shouldn’t be confused with her knowing I wrote two short, doggone wonderful DougHug entries within the past year. She is, after all, a neighborhood friend. Chloe. A frequent interchange in my human-puppy road experience.
She’s a decorative stone chewer and lover of the barking craft. As well, a clever end-of-the-leash u-turner once I decide to walk across our less-traveled, two lane avenue to extend my hand in affection. A tease of the highest order she is, I must say. Pleas to pet from from afar are met with taut leash rejection once I enter her space … defined as that 1/4″ edge of concrete just off the public avenue blacktop. It is the clear, non-furry fringe of her Doug/dog comfort zone I’ve come to accept. At that step, her immediate turn toward porch happens. The leash slacks and I begin the invisible dance with her.
Darts and dashes. In between two porch chairs, around poles, parked cars perhaps, … maybe a bush or two – she weaves a tapestry of one-leash wonderment as I usually stand waiting for her approval. Never do I understand this dance. All I can do is, ah,Staire at her amazing energy and enthusiasm hoping to reclaim the original intent of her yippy query moments before.
Step by step I make my way to the small porch knowing soon – within five minutes – she will approach me. That is, as long as certain terms are met. 1) I am sitting on the one step, 2) I am not wearing part, or all, of my concession business uniform, 3) I don’t make any sudden movements, 4) She can sit on my lap when it is convenient for her, and, for my protection 5) I must be absolutely prepared for sudden tongue licks on my face. Other than those “must haves”, we’re good.
I don’t mind the essentials. Chloe time is worth it. “I mean, look at that face!”, is the loving phrase her human momma says all the time. Human dad, who is seen periodically doing the fatherly duties, doesn’t utter flowerly phrases while sitting idly by, but does reflect the same sentiments. Chloe is well kept … and loved, of course. She’s worth the effort.
There are few, if any, kiddos in the neighborhood. Dogs out number them. An adults and canines support group here in a one-way in, one-way out, three avenue, one street tuck-away. So close to activity we are, yet comfortably distant from a lot of the highway noise only blocks away. Such a small number of cars pass by I wonder if puppies – such a Chloe – are developing properly not having the opportunity to chase an adequate amount. Perhaps what she’s been lacking in auto-pursuing is being projected as Doug-poking?🤔…
Regardless, puppies around here are special. They give us adults some relief from all the “stuff” we have to deal with all the time. Frequently, Chloe time gets me away from my immediate self – the daily Doug. I can talk to the neighbors while patting down fur across her back a few seconds at a time. Satisfying, easy, rhythmic joy for me … to pet Chloe and talk away some humor or seriousness at the same time is valuable real estate in my emotional neighborhood.
… And I do believe Chloe may understand this – without giving her too much credit. Perhaps it just dumb luck? Maybe a bit of wonky star dust falling onto my path during certain walk-throughs? A specific, “trouble-in-the-air, Timmy?” that the little nose between those two sad eyes can detect? I don’t know the reason behind her insistence. The barking. The end of the leash, “Please come over and pet me!” pleas darting across the summer breezes once in a while I must entertain. The dance. All of it … I don’t know IF she knows, specifically. I do know, though, I must obey.
Not to wouldn’t be healthy.
Pushing through what we may not understand, watching the dance play out … to experience something so much better is life at its best.
If there’s one guarantee in my life with Chloe as a neighbor, it is this: walking back across that same avenue after fifteen minutes, my steps are lighter. Heavy are the burdens we unconsciously place on our shoulders. Puppies and/or pets aren’t the whole solution, obviously, but when one decides it’s time for some attention, … You should consider it if you need a “healthy”, emotional neighborhood in your life.
One may not be as ridiculously cute as Chloe – or KNOW it as she probably does. This one can bark all she wants and I will continue to dance the dance. Once a week or so, this warm weather exchange is bound to continue. It must. We need it. Intersecting lives unleash the happy in one human and one puppy one pet at a time.
As long as I follow the rules, of course.