I met an interesting two-legged character at the dog park today. His name was Charles and he talked a little slower than I’m used to people talking. Some of his words didn’t make the most sense, and he had an awkward social sense about him. (We canines can sense these things).
He and his wife were there with their two mutts (his words, not mine), who happened to be nine-year-old German Shepherd/Husky mix brothers. They were beautiful if you ask me, with flowing white coats and long happy tails. I played with them a bit before doing what I always do in going to check up on my mom. (I’m sure to check in with her ever so often while we’re at the park to make sure she’s okay).
When I arrived at her usual perch on a bench under her favorite tree, she was talking to Charles. Rather, he was talking to her. He was telling her all about himself, and his dogs, and asked her whether she thinks dog-walking harnesses are uncomfortable for us. (Which is another example of a moment I wish I could have spoken up and said yes, they are uncomfortable, but not all of the time). I hope the harnesses are comfortable, she said, because my little Wiley wears one. The context never matters – those few words all together make my heart smile. My ears perk up, my tail wags, and my heart bursts. Her little Wiley.
So I took a little break from romping around the park and popped a seat down next to her to see what else this Charles had to say. I was so glad I did because his response took me by surprise.
“Yes, dogs have a way of making our hearts work right, don’t they?” Charles said. I’m not sure how that directly related back to my mom’s comment about my walking harness but mom didn’t flinch at the random moment of reflection.
They sure do, she said.
Charles smiled and lovingly gazed over at his two “mutts” who were wrestling with each other, their tails wagging a mile a minute. In that moment I was overcome with pride that I’m a dog. I felt grateful to his dogs for having such a positive impact on this man’s life, and to all dogs who have that kind of impact on their humans. It was clear Charles’ life was not without struggle (he mentioned something about a war called Vietnam), but these dogs managed to bring joy and love into his life in the most profoundly special way.
I’m so glad I met Charles today. In his own unique way, he reminded me what my true purpose is in our little doggie lives: to share our joy from the ground up with whomever will take it.