Dogs live in a circle of love. And if we’re lucky, they sweep us into it.
Let me tell you what I mean.
Yesterday we walked Honey, my golden retriever, to the marina.
Confederates #1 & 2
When we stuck to the sidewalk, Honey knew it was just an ordinary walk. But once we crossed the highway to take the path toward the farmer’s market, Honey knew we were doing something special.
As the lawn on either side of the trail opened up, Honey showed her joy. She leaped around on the end of her leash. She play bowed a couple of times. I dropped her leash and she did tight zoomies around me.
As I saw a couple approaching in the distance, I picked up Honey’s leash. I saw them watching her. I looked up to smile and they smiled back as they met my eyes.
Confederates #3 & 4
When we arrived downtown, Mike left us under a tree while he went into the shop to pick up sandwiches for lunch.
I saw a couple stopped at the traffic light looking at Honey. The man in the driver’s seat leaned over his passenger to get a better look at her. I thought they just noticed a pretty dog and that they’d look away soon. But they didn’t. They were fascinated.
Soon I saw a little black nose peeking up through the glass. The woman had a dachshund in her lap. Oh, of course. They were dog lovers.
When the light changed, the driver didn’t notice at first. He was still admiring Honey. But eventually they drove off.
We were still waiting for Mike when I heard a voice behind me. “Is your dog friendly?”
I turned to see Honey wagging cheerfully at a man with a shopping bag.
I was proud that Honey kept four-on-the-floor as the man gave her the best ear scratches ever. While he pet Honey he explained, “I have two pit bulls at home.”
I replied, “They’re such loving dogs. No wonder you’re so good at ear scratchies.”
He smiled before saying goodbye and continuing on his way.
With Mike back with our lunch, we walked the remaining 45 minutes to the marina. Once there, we set up our blanket behind a family fishing.
The little boy with them, who we later found out was Tyler, seemed fascinated by Honey.
He sat on the bench looking back at her. Pretty soon he started whistling. We let Honey walk up to him at the end of her leash.
Tyler was thrilled that his whistling attracted Honey’s attention.
Eventually he was down on the blanket stroking her ears and laughing when she sniffed him.
Honey broke down any shyness Tyler had and soon he was telling us about his family, his kindergarten teacher, turning cartwheels, and showing us how fast he could run.
While Tyler’s family was packing up to go home, a man we had chatted with a few weeks ago after kayaking with Honey rode up in his scooter.
He just needed a little doggie loving and asked if he could pet Honey.
When we met each other earlier, we had learned about the man’s abiding love for big dogs—especially St. Bernards and Newfoundlands.
This time we spent an hour talking about astronomy, fishing, nature and all kinds of interesting things.
The man approached us because of Honey. But once talking, we discovered many other common interests.
By the time we started walking home, the sun was going down. We didn’t expect to meet many other dog lovers on our way.
But after crossing the bridge over the inlet, a man smoking outside the cab dispatcher shouted out, “What kind of dog is that?”
I stopped to reply, “A golden retriever,” while Honey walked over to introduce herself.
The man explained his brother had a golden retriever. As he grinned broadly at my golden girl, the dog lover revealed a few broken teeth. But he had one of the most beautiful smiles I had ever seen.
The War Between the States
The more time you spend online at dog sites the more horrible stories you read.
Is it actually a war between responsible dog people and the lunatics who hoard dogs, don’t clean up after them, or let their dogs roam off-leash bothering other dogs and people?
But when I take Honey for a long walk, I see smiles everywhere I look. I meet children who know how to be kind and gentle with her. I hear the stories of people who remember loved dogs.
It’s her world. A world of kind people who love dogs. And I’m just lucky to spend a little time in it.
Your Turn: Do you feel like there’s a confederacy of dog lovers? Do you find yourself a part of it when you’re walking your dog?