"The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too." (Samuel Butler)
Those of you who have been reading my on-line journal know I've been a dog lover even longer than I've been a writer. And that's a long time, since I started scribbling words in a notebook and writing my first novel when I was around ten. But I already loved dogs before then. I'm going to be writing about the first dog that stole my heart on Sunday's blog. That dog and his story and mine are going to be part of an anthology of dog stories called The Dog Next Door edited by Callie Smith Grant. Check back Sunday to find out more about the book and my story then.
But these two beauties are my dogs now. Oscar and Dub. They're sitting here waiting for me to make my way up the cliff path. I had stopped to look at a flower or the owl nest or something. It's easy to see they were happy to take a rest break. I have another little mutt named Lucy, but she's got beagle hound in her and she's off hunting all the time when we're walking. She'll come around to check in now and again while we're walking as long as Roxie, the big old St. Bernard from across the road isn't walking with me. If Roxie's along - and Roxie loves to walk with me - Lucy stays way back and only sneaks up for an ear ruffle when she catches Roxie not looking. When I get a new dog, the only think I want to make sure of is that it's a walking dog, but since most all dogs like to walk, that doesn't narrow the field much.
Oscar, the black lab mix, is a great walking dog right now. He stays pretty close to me and if he runs on ahead, he always comes back to make sure I'm still coming. Dub, a registered chocolate lab, used to be a good walking dog, but he's getting old. He can't keep up any more. But he goes even though sometimes he figures out my route and just waits at the halfway point. It's the saddest thing to have a walking dog that gets too old to walk. I used to have a cockerspaniel who loved to walk with me. It about broke my heart the day Jody sat down on the path and just looked at me as if to say, "I can't do this anymore."
But that's part of dog ownership. Dogs don't live as long as people. They drive us crazy while they're puppies - chewing on our shoes or anything that sits still, barking at invisible squirrels, throwing up in our cars or worse. But then they grow old much too quickly and we see them through as old dogs with pills hidden in cheese balls, arthritis in their hips and gray hair on their muzzles. But they're worth it. They bring joy and fun and then they pass the baton on to the next dog in your life. I've had many from that first dog, Inky, to Oscar now. Good dogs who have made my life richer. And walked miles and miles with me.
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." Roger Caras
Hope life is good to you this week and that a dog somewhere is making you smile. Oh yeah, and if you're in the Columbia, SC area, I'll be at the Book Festival there this weekend. They have a wonderful program there with panels and presentations all day Saturday and Sunday with extra stuff going on for the kids. If you love books and hearing writers talk about their books and writing, then check it out at http://www.scbookfestival.org/.