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Sunday, May 23, 2010

An Old Dog Learns New Tricks

Ten years ago, you couldn't have made me get near an animal. Nope. Not a cat or dog or otherwise. I couldn't stand them. It's nearly the same way I feel about kids today. I didn't want them near me, on me, or slobbering on me. Ick. To think of finding a dog hair on my pants made me feel like I should tear them off and toss them in the wash with hot water.

We grew up with outside dogs. One at a time. And they were never inside, even in cold Idaho winters, except when it as excessively cold -- and even then, just to lay inside the door on a specific dog-worthy rug. And only for a while. Then, it was back outside. And I don't recall ever petting them or napping with them or talking to them. My, what a difference a few years makes. I'm pretty sure that actually enjoying feeling four paws pressed against my stomach and chest in the night is evidence of that.

He presses out hard with his four small paws when he stretches. They press firmly into either my back or my chest and middle-aged tummy when he does that. And I like it. I think it's cute when he stretches. And it is especially comforting in the dark hours of the night when it happens. I feel his dramatic breath exhale on my forearm when he rests his small chin there. And to look into his eyes is almost too much sometimes. Even know, as I'm writing this, I can hear him lying in his well-adorned-and-expensive bedding next to me...breathing, sighing (because he's dramatic like his daddies). At night, after lying at the foot of the bed for a bit, he "comes into the fort." It's underneath the covers, between us. He goes in head first. Butt last. And his little 12-pound body rests there. His cute little hind quarters right squarely between our chests. We look at each other and smile. We think it's cute although others are probably quite put off by it. I used to be.

I'm not sure when, or precisely how, it happened. But it did. I'm a dog guy now. I remember going to our friend Heather's house for brunch years ago. She has two big whippets. And who in the world would those dogs choose to lay on except me. The dog hater. LoverBoy looked at me. And I at him. He knew. I knew. My eyes showed it, like they usually do. But over the years, this old hard and crusty opinionated soul let them in. The dogs. I'm the guy who stops at nearly every single dog on the street to say hi. I'm the one who just has to pet them and tell them that they are good boys or girls. I scratch them behind their ears and kiss them on their heads. Just like a politician working the crowd. And they seem to put the silly, overly dramatic episodes of this childish world at bay for a while.

And when I climb in bed at night with LoverBoy and Mason, the world seems better. It's one of my most favorite times of the day. The quiet. The solace. The little games that we play -- even at our age. And, Mason, a big part of all of them. Just goes to show you that an old dog can learn new tricks. Even at my age.

** This post was prompted by my buddy Matt who posted a link on Facebook today to an article at The RhodesTer Chronicles detailing a PBS show "Why We Love Cats and Dogs."

20 comments:

Matt said...

Beautiful. Even when I get up in the morning with a stiff neck and back from the 6-inch space that Kali leaves each of us as she stretches out or curls up sideways during the night (she weighs about 100 pounds), I wouldn't trade it in for anything. Having her chin resting on my arm or belly, hearing her sigh and snore ... indescribable heaven.

Kelly said...

awww...as much as i bitch and complain about all the white dog hair from our two... it is sweet to have them... especially this morning when i am home alone, hungover and the big one is laid up against me...

Rhodester said...

For the people who won't let the dogs on their furniture I'd say, "You know, it's not too weird at all if you talk to a dog, but if you talk to a sofa you're going to get some pretty strange looks."

Nice meeting you, and thanks for the plug :-)

Ur-spo said...

I understand this better, now we have a pooch. Getting her in bed is a lovely pleasure.

Dorian aka coffeesister |_|) said...

Hello! ^_^ I'm here thanx to the link you shared on my husband's blog, The RhodesTer Chronicles, & am awfully glad you did. Not only did I enjoy the slideshow of Mason but it's just so damn heart-warming that you discovered fur-kids are what make a family complete. As I quoted on my Hunny's post, Why we love cats and dogs, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” (Anatole France) =^@.@^= I know you'll love the PBS special as much as we did, hope all 3 of you can curl up & watch together.

To fur-kids everywhere.. (|_|*ch33rs*|_|)

christopherc said...

Growing up my Dad held the opinion that we could have as many of whatever pets we wanted; provided that when he was tired of buying feed/food for them we could eat them. That provided hogs, chickens, cows, goat, sheep, ostrich, and such, but never horses, cats, or dogs except for three barn cats for mousing.

Simple fact of the matter is growing up my Dad's entire family complained about people having dogs. Then, I grew up went off to school and became a "professional" out on my own and attained canines for company as a single guy... Bella, our Fox Red Labrador simply loves to jump off the ground and lick Dad in the face. Amazingly, she's the first dog he's ever liked, and the only dog I've ever let have run of the house.

So, in my opinion, pets like the rest of our being is nothing more than the evolution of life from day to day to make us the person we have become.

-C

anne marie said...

I'm with you...human kids SUCK, but my cats are the best!

LiveWorkDream said...

I like your way of thinking! Human kids freak us out, but our dog can lick from our plate, our hands and heck we'll even ingest a few dog hairs accidentally without much of a ruckus.

Thanks so much for your comment on Rhodester's blog, I'm glad he told me about you!

-Rene, Jim, Wyatt Ray & Spirit Jerry

Princessa lil mexico said...

Mason is one lucky lil guy. To have two great daddies that love him so much and would do anything for him! Such a sweet dog for two very sweet gentlemen!

LSL said...

Lewis, this is the sweetest, sweetest post and video. I love hearing how little Mason has transformed your lives.

madhouse 6 said...

nothing better than lucy curled up next to me at night

love the pics of mason

Rick said...

Why have a dog if you don't let him in the house? I don't get it.

CJ/Rick said...

Dogs outside in Idaho's winter? How cruel. My parents would NEVER have allowed our dog in the house either. I see pictures of me as a young boy with the dog but I don't remember much about it.
If someone had told me I'd have two big ass dogs in my house someday I would have told them politely they were full of s*%#.
Sweet post and video.

Stephen said...

This is one of my favorite Spirit of Saint Louis posts ever...
I am filled with happiness that the charms of canines have won you over.

I have NEVER NOT had a dog. The Husband & I are on our 5th dog since being a couple, all but one were/are rescue dogs.

I share my bed with another man & 2canines. I know all too well, the feeling of dog paws on my body during the "big stretch".

I look forward to Mason being included in on our cocktail date this summer!

heat said...

My 2 dogs are my absolute best friends in the entire world. My Capone has just started doing the same thing as Mason, under the covers head first, butt last. Don't need a man when I got the Puggle to curl up with ;-)

Gary said...

I've had at least one dog since 1984. They're so ingrained in me, in remembering earlier apartments I clearly see dogs living there with me.

Lemuel said...

Ah! So glad you were "converted"!

Greg said...

How very sweet! I was never a cat person until moving in with Caesar. Now the cat comes to me for snuggles and back scratches while meowing incessantly at Caesar when he's hungry. But we love him. :)

turnipHed said...

Funny enough I was just talking about my puppy last night with the BF and how her and I used to play "tug o' war" together and how we used to growl at each other and she would always come up to me and lick my nose.

Really miss having a furry companion...

Edmund said...

too cute. Love Mason.....Toby wants to come over and play!
Edmund