‘It's just the most amazing thing to love a dog, isn't it? It makes our relationships with people seem as boring as a bowl of oatmeal.’
Today is Baker’s first birthday. This makes him roughly 15 in human years. He is a true teenager, one who is on the verge of dating and driving, testing his boundaries, and figuring out just where he fits in the pack. He runs amok, barks at anything that moves, is obstinate when he doesn’t get his own way, pouts at times, loves junk food and falls into bed each night and sleeps like a log.
In this first year he has:
chewed and pawed his way though our basement door
eaten several parts of stuffed animals
gone through a dozen tennis balls
snatched food off the table and the cupboard
broken out of his kennel twice
chewed numerous socks and shoes
oh, and phone cords
helped himself to my morning latte
and hogged the bed
During this first year we have learned:
to pick our stuff up, all of it
scoot our chairs in, after leaving the table
to share the bed
that he is tall, tall enough to reach the cupboard
to throw a tennis ball, I use one of those throw things, dad free-hands it
that long walks do us all good and are a cure-all for almost anything
and that metal kennels are more durable than the soft ones
We have all experienced unconditional love, and we have learned how to share: snacks like bowls of popcorn, the occasional Gold Fish cracker and French fries, are top on his list. And while I am sure he would share his treats, we pass and settle for the laughter and love he brings into our days.
We have also come to understand that petting a dog does wonders for the soul during a hard day.
He has worked his way deep into our hearts and our home; made our little family whole agiain, and blessed us beyond measure. Today we will celebrate with extra treats and a trip to the dog park. There will be snuggles all around. Face licks from him, and ear kisses from us.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Basil who we lost a year ago, almost to the day. I thank him for turning me into a true dog person. He opened my heart to the privilege of what it feels like to love a dog and have them return that love tenfold. He and Baker would have been great friends.
‘Dogs invite us not only to share their joy but also to live in the moment, where we are neither proceeding from nor moving toward, where the enchantment of the past and future cannot distract us, where a freedom from practical desire and a cessation of our usual ceaseless action allows us to recognize the truth of our existence, the reality of our world and purpose--if we dare.’