This morning is about as good as it gets. Beautiful sunrise, birds singing, cool and slightly overcast after an overnight shower with the rain smell still in the air. I’m sitting outside my local coffee shop in the beautiful Country Club Plaza. I was here early enough to snag my favorite table, and I’m relaxing in a comfortable chair, a steaming latte, and enjoying being up before most everyone else for some quiet “me” time after a busy week. My girls are stretched out at my feet on their mat. Honey is people watching, and Baby is stretched out on her back napping. I kick off one of my Sanuk Sandals and feel the soft warmth of her fur as my foot rests on her tummy.
I’m lucky. I get to have lots of these moments. I get to share them, too.
You notice things when you bring your dogs. People are happier. Almost everyone walking past breaks into a smile. an involuntary “Awww!” Or at least a knowing glance at me. It is an unspoken understanding between dog people, and it is almost irresistible for them not to stop and share this moment. So we meet. We talk. They ask to pet the dogs (if they have kids, its a given). There are stories, more smiles, holding them–more hugs and petting for the girls from our new friends.
I hear the same things: “We have a (fill in the breed) at home–I wish we could bring her with us like this…” (Usually after they see me go in to get another coffee and leave the girls waiting patiently on their mat while people bustle by–some struggling to manage dogs that have noticed the girls, and are now “in tow” whining and straining against tight leashes ).
It is at these moments, that I am thankful that I can bring my dogs almost anywhere, and how my life wouldn’t be the same without them.
Often, while holding one of mine, looking at their innocent little faces, or receiving a lick in the face , I see them get emotional remembering a dog from their past, or just missing the ones waiting at home. I see their eyes misting as they recall a special memory. This stuff sneaks up on you–and it can be triggered by being close to any dog. Anyone who has experienced this precious bond isn’t a bit surprised that the people clearing their throats and turning away with something in their eye are usually grown men. When I am in another country or far from home without my girls, I am that guy too.
It makes me feel good about what I do– sharing the methods for people and their dogs to have richer, fuller lives. Here is the real gift: The gratitude that comes with the discovery that we need them more than they need us, and that life is better when you bring the dog.