The dog does

Chico, California – Photo by Jordan Koons via Unsplash

“No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as much as the dog does.”Christopher Morley

I really miss having a dog, and I hope to adopt one as soon as we are adjusted enough to have the time and energy for one. For a chatterbox such as I tend to be, it would be nice to have a friend to talk to– one to whom I could say absolutely anything knowing that it would not be misconstrued or repeated.

Since Pasha died in 2013, and especially in the past year, I pass most of my hours in silence now. That’s probably good for me, but I loved all those years of having Pasha to talk to when Jeff and the boys were off at work and school. Like most dogs, he was an attentive listener and seemed to “talk” with his eyes, appearing interested (“Really? tell me more”) or bored (sigh/yawn “There you go again”) or occasionally concerned (“What’s up with you now? You’re acting pretty strange today”). One thing he never, ever did was walk away while I was talking. He didn’t interrupt or give advice, either.

Those of us who have spent time talking to dogs know how they do that cute thing where they turn their heads to one side and then the other as if to say “You don’t say!” or “What? What do you mean by that?” Our companion animals can be so expressive, it’s no wonder some writers end up acting as scribes for their furry friends, translating their wisdom to the extent that our human words will allow.

If you have a dog, cat, bird, or other animal(s) at home with you right now, tell them I said hello, and thank them for helping humanity to defeat despair.

18 Comments

  1. Ann

    Our new dog, Bolt (named after a Walt Disney movie) says ‘hi’. He is a Boston Terrier/Corgi mix. He is bringing much joy to us and helping us over the loss of older dogs. He is quite the conversationalist and is sitting in my lap, looking at my iPad as I key this. Oops, he just went to sleep!

    • Ann, how wonderful! I loved the photo you sent me of Bolt. He is adorable. Great name too.

  2. Max and Sam say ‘woof’.
    It’s rather lovely having two dogs, because they listen to each other too… and they speak dog, which we don’t. I think being a single dog must be like living in a country where you don’t speak the language and don’t entirely understand the culture… everyone is very kind, but you hanker after a friend to chat to who really knows what you mean. We used to have a single dog, but since we have had a pair I would never go back to having just one… they make each other so happy.

    • Virtual ear-scratching and cyber treats to Max and Sam! My parents and a couple of other friends share your experience that two dogs are better than one– for each other, and for us. Whatever is the equivalent of doggie eye-rolling, surely these canine duets must exchange quite a few such exchanges with each other as they navigate our very human homes. Lucky us! and lucky them too. A true win-win.

  3. Harry Sims

    My heart leapt for joy when I read this.
    Daisy Mae’s heart leapt for joy when I read it to her.

    Harry

    • Wonderful! To paraphrase an old saying, “If only I was the writer the dogs think I am.” 🙂

  4. I had two dogs and a few cats in my life. My first dog held a special place because when disabled with polio there often, after surgeries, was time when I was alone. Chrissy was a companion who didn’t have to go to his own home for dinner or attend school when I couldn’t as my friends.
    God I believe gave us domestic pets to facilitate our need to love another creature. Our pets are the object of our love, which is their great value, and therefore fit well into God’s plan. For He made us to love and be loved in return. As pure love itself, God, made it so.
    As the lyrics in an old song says: “A bell is not a bell, until its rung. A song is not a song, until its sung. And love is not love, until its given away.”
    Happy pooch hunting, Julia. We all need a recipient of our love.
    -Alan

    • Thank you, Alan. Although the reasons for my isolation are different, I too know the special joy of having a canine friend who passed many hours of solitude with me for sixteen years. I have often wondered whether Pasha actually spent more waking time with me than any human has. So I suppose when Pasha was alive, my solitude was not truly solitude at all, but a wonderful form of companionship. I’m so glad you had Chrissy with you during those years. I totally agree with you about animals, especially those who live in our homes with us, having a divinely-ordained role in our lives. Their gifts to us are precious and unique.

  5. Judy from Pennsylvania

    The guy and his dog are so cute together! Even their hairstyles sort of match. I do hope that you find a dog to share your time and conversations with. Maybe even a puppy? Or an adult rescued dog?

    Our dog has an uncanny way of knowing what we say, especially if the sentences in any way suggest food or going somewhere. It sets her off into happy excitement and tail wagging. Now we’ve often have to resort to spelling rather than talking about meals, groceries and travel!

    I read somewhere that dogs are considered to be “soulish” animals by some religions. I guess that might mean that they’re considered to be higher on the spiritual plain than a lot of other animals. Well, I for one hope and even pray that my dog companions will be recreated for me in heaven. It would be such an ecstatic reunion to see Taffy, Robby, Junior, Josie and Millie there! Such a lot of heartwarming fun to see them again!

    • Judy, I had exactly the same thought about the hair. In fact, I think that’s the most remarkable thing about that photo. Don’t you love how dogs’ ears seem naturally tuned in to catch the exciting or promising talk? My theological opinions are not worth much, and I realize some would argue, but I truly do believe that our animal friends will be part of the next life. We are told that all creation awaits redemption, and many greater minds than mine have believed that animals will be part of that fulfillment. Meanwhile, I’m just delighted they are here while we have them, and always in memory when they pass from our lives.

  6. Sheila

    Julia, I’ve had so many moments from my pets this week that I’ve been collecting for you! Monday morning, after numerous greetings from Walter to my housekeeper, and repeated acknowledgements from her, she finally exclaimed to him, “You must learn to speak Spanish so we can really talk!” 🐥 It was a moment! 💛 Then when my fishkeeper came to clean my aquarium later on Monday, he calmed my fears about my almost 30 year old “Mr &a Mrs Clown fish”, which I needed to hear. Jack has been a lifesaver in so many ways. There are times that I really wonder if Bill and I were really the rescued ones. 🐾 He is a real plus to our retirement. Our Salty love was so like your love for Pasha, and we so connected through them. Wasn’t that fun when Salty and Pasha commented here? Talk about defeating despair! I’m sure you’ll have another family member to share your love.🐾 You’ll know when it’s right, and that “angel voice” will speak loud and clear! Hi to Matt. 👋🏻 Love crossing the miles… Sheila

    • Thank you Sheila! I always love hearing about the “Vann clan” at 428, non-humans included! I can tell that your housekeeper is “tuned in” to Walter. Who knows, he may be able to pick up a few words from her. You’ll have to let me know when that happens. I will be listening for that “angel voice” and I do believe it will eventually show up. Thinking of you with love and gratitude!

  7. Good morning, Julia!
    The photo that you selected is terrific! We can’t wrap just anyone around our necks, but our well-loved pets are so trusting and tolerant that we manage to coax them into almost anything.
    Except the laundry chute. Bob, the Cat, wasn’t nearly as delighted by the ride to the full, fluffy laundry basket as my kids had anticipated. I put a stop to that as soon as I discovered what was going on.
    Perhaps I should have been suspicious when my three kids were all playing so nicely and cooperatively together!
    Yet, trust was eventually restored, and Bob was very forgiving (as an aside: male cats appear to be more forgiving than female cats).
    Have a super Week of Thanksgiving!

    • Susan, this is hilarious! I can remember a friend of ours who had a laundry chute, and I always thought it would have been fun if it was large enough for kids to try out. I can understand how your kids thought they were giving Bob a real treat! Then when he balked, they probably just felt he needed to get the hang of it, like riding a bicycle. I’m glad he was able to put it behind him, but I’ll bet he saw you as the MOST trustworthy human in the house for a long while after that! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this funny story.

      • LOL “get the hang of it, like riding a bicycle!” I think you’re right. I’m sure that was their interpretation! But you sent me into such chortles of laughter that I probably woke the neighbors, recalling the incident.

        • Susan, I’m glad it brought a laugh. I suppose there is enough of the child in me that I can easily place myself in that picture, and not as the cat or parent. 🙂 Fred Rogers once said that the people who felt most uncomfortable with his work are simply those who have forgotten what it is like to be a child. I certainly remember most of it, and that sort of innocent (though sometimes ill-advised) fun is part of what makes childhood fun and magical. Thank goodness, though, for those adults standing guard to protect the safety (and dignity) of bystanders. 😀 😀 😀

  8. LB

    Julia, I’ll look forward to reading more about your new family member.
    I’ve been thinking of you, as always, but even more lately at this time of year.

    • Thank you, LB. I’ve been thinking of you lately too, especially November 7, as the hard work you have done continues to bear fruit in your local district and beyond. 🙂 I so appreciate your presence here, and I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! ❤ ❤ ❤ P.S. when that new family member arrives, you will be among the first to know 🙂

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