October Update

Bought a standard poodle puppy.  Bringing him home October 5, so October will be full of housebreaking, and FUN.

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Tuesday
Dec152009

Soul-to-Soul with a Golden Retriever

In my Sept. 8th post, I asked whether dogs know we’re not dogs.  Now I really have to wonder about that question.  
    As I often mention, I power walk on the bike path that follows the Chicago lakefront every weekday morning, for my physical and spiritual health.  On that walk, I encounter cyclers, in-line skaters, other walkers, joggers, dog-joggers, and dog exercisers.  My approach to all is detached friendliness.  As I walk, I’m trying to commune with my muse, and with the Spirit of the Universe.  So I don’t really notice people much.  And with regard to the dogs, as appealing as some of them are, if I stopped to admire or pet each one, I’d never get my walk done.  
    The dog exercisers usually take their pets into the open, grassy areas of the lakefront park, pretty far from the path.  Flinging sticks and Frisbees for the dogs to chase, they need to be away from the bike and foot traffic.  
    So I was surprised on a recent bright, chilly morning, to notice up ahead, a tall young man in a camel coat, commencing to exercise his golden retriever on a patch of grass bordered closely by a curving portion of the path.
    But there was more.  Judging by the dog’s similarity to my beloved standard poodle from years back (surely the king of dog heaven now), the retriever must have weighed about 75 pounds.  The retriever’s coat was glossy, healthy, well-brushed, and a glowing tan.  And he was clearly delighted to be outdoors on this cold, sunny day: racing in celebratory circles around his owner, dashing away from the owner and dashing back, a wide, enthusiastic smile on his muzzle.
    That golden retriever was so appealing in his joy, that I thought to myself, “This time I’m going to make an exception.  This time I really want to stop and pet that wonderful dog!”  And I envisioned myself stroking his shiny head and scratching his ears.   
    The moment I thought this, the dog suddenly veered in my direction.  I continued the thought, “Ah, he’s coming over for me to pet him…”  But a split second later, in one of those story-like thoughts we have in the instant before a collision, I realized that the streak of golden tan speeding toward me was 75 pounds of sprinting dog to my 108 pounds of leisurely moving human.  And the dog was not slowing down at all!  He was leaping to plant his front paws on my shoulders, and…I…was…going…to…be…toppled.
    Then I was flat on my back, sore in the left hip that had hit the ground first.  And the overjoyed dog was huffing and nuzzling me, obviously expecting to hug and smooch around right there on the path.
    The owner, to his credit, was aghast, apologizing, offering help, crying out that the dog had never done such a thing before.  And I was too engrossed in a painful hip, mixed with delight that my back was not broken, to say much, except that I thought I as going to be OK.
    But later I realized that the dog had read my thoughts and feelings.  His doggy spirit had picked up my immediate love for him, and he had rushed over to love me back.  I still smile when I remember him.

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