Sunday, June 11, 2017

The wet, slurpy blessings of dogs

By Tom Walker

For much too long, I’ve lived without the sound of toenails clicking on our tile floors, the sensual pleasure of cuddling up on the couch with a warm furry body, and the not-altogether unpleasant surprise of slurpy kisses on the ear.
Dog blessings.
Half a dozen dogs have lived with us over the years. Each of them became part of our family, and each left an aching void when they died. The death of our sweet old Molly hurt so much that Linda and I decided she would be our last dog.
We want to spare ourselves from that kind of pain, sure; but we also want to be fair to a dog. Health problems make it impossible for us to exercise a dog properly; we’d have to have a couch potato canine or a professional dog-walker, and those don’t appeal to us.
And neither of us is a cat person. So that’s out, too.

Buddy the Beagle
 Enter Buddy. He’s our grand-dog, an extremely cute little beagle belonging to our daughter, Christina Walker Rowden. We get to dog-sit Buddy when Christina’s away. This is an ideal way to briefly share our home with a dog, without actually owning one.
Buddy has stayed with us several times, and each time is an adventure. Once, he chewed up my i-Pod ear buds, but that was my fault; I left them lying on a table where he could reach them.
Mainly, though, he spends his time incessantly hunting for badgers (or whatever it is that his beagle DNA drives him to hunt) in our backyard. As far as I can tell, badgers take the shape of lizards, birds or whatever else is lurking in our trees and shrubs.
He also digs lots of holes, because obviously badgers must be hiding underground somewhere if they aren’t lurking in the trees or shrubs.
Other than getting up to let Buddy in or out of the backyard every ten minutes or so, taking care of him is no problem at all. At bedtime, we simply smear some peanut butter on the inside of his Kong dog toy, put it inside his cage and lock him up.
Then he’s good until about 5 a.m. That’s when the whining and crying started this morning. Hey, we had to get up sometime, anyway.

Donald Trump, I’ve read, does not care for dogs, cats or pets in general. As a result, for the first time in roughly 130 years, the White House is without the sound of clicking paws on its hardwood floors, the  joyful yips of a dog welcoming the Oval Office occupant back to the family residence.
It’s hard to imagine the place without a Fala or Millie or big, galumphing Bo. A Trump supporter once offered to give him a golden doodle, but he turned it down. Not enough time for something as frivolous as a dog with funny-looking hair, he said. Guess it might interfere with his twittering.
If ever a president could benefit from a friendly lick in the ear, it’s Trump. For one thing, medical studies have found that pets help lower their owners’ blood pressures – surely something that could help the orange-faced president as well as the nation. Now that Melania and Barron have moved into the White House, maybe Trump will decide to make room in his life for a dog, as well. After all, having a pet could provide a much-needed public relations boost for the embattled covfefe in chief.
   Someone who likes a dog is just, well, more likeable. Doggone it.

But alas, Christina came back from her trip to reclaim Buddy. He seems to like us well enough, but we are clearly no match for his mom. He curled up in her lap contentedly while she told us about her visit to the old mining town of Bisbee. Then he tugged at his leash, a dog on a mission, all the way out to the car for his trip back home.
And that’s the way it should be. Unlike Trump, we don’t have a staff of butlers, ushers and others to take care of walking a dog or cleaning up poop in the Rose Garden. (Maybe that’s a job Sean Spicer could handle after the demotion that’s surely on its way.)
But as for Linda and I, we have some memories of beloved dogs – Molly, Bonnie, Ed Beagley Jr., Oreo and She-She -- but no dogs of our own.
Other people’s dogs, however, are always welcome.


Tom Walker said...

I tried and tried to post a better picture of Buddy, but the picture wouldn't post. He's much cuter than the one I did manage to get, but you'll just have to trust me on this. He's really cute.

Mary Walker Baron said...

He is really cute and this is a wonderful tribute.