I really didn’t understand the big deal about dogs…
When I was little there was a dog who belonged to my grandfather that ended up staying at our place for about a year. Her name was Sandy. She was a little black and white shepherd dog, full of spirit and energy, and a bark that drifted on through the night and into the early morning.
I remember not really feeling connected to her. I guess I was too little and thought dogs just obeyed any little command you threw at them. So when she continued to ignore my orders to “Sit!” or “Stay!” and walked away without the least bit of care as to what I said or did, I just gave up any hope to engage her.
So when I came to live with Blue 20 years later, I assumed the situation would be the same. He would ignore me, I would ignore him and we would eke out some sort of dormitory-like existence where I did my thing and he did his.
But one morning, when Matt was away on tour, I took on the task of taking Blue on his morning walk. He pulled and tugged at the leash like I had expected him to and persisted on doing his thing while I was dragged around the neighborhood. When we got to the open field where Matt usually lets him off the leash to have a free run around, I was a little hesitant. “What if he runs off without me?” I was concerned and afraid of losing him.
But I decided to let him go and off he ran. And just when I started to think what a dumb idea it was to let him off the leash, he did something that made my heart skip. He stopped. And waited for me. I recall pausing for a moment to make sure it wasn’t just some sort of mistake or fluke. When he kept staring at me, I took a leap of faith and called out his name.
And to my surprise, he came running back with one of those big dopey dog grins. I knew at that moment I had been totally wrong about dogs. They are a big deal. And the big deal is not that they pay attention to you when you expect them to. But that they pay attention when you least expect them to.
Nowadays, Blue and I have a pretty good understanding of one another. He squeezes his way into the little pocket of space between me and the armrest of our leather sofa, and I rush in at least once a day to grab him around the neck and hug him. I’d have to say that’s one pretty good darn way to define love. And for me, that’s a big deal.