Cid is 9 years old this month. We don’t know his exact birthday, but the shelter where Marie got him back in March 2000 knew how old he was when he came in, five weeks, along with his siblings and a mom who’d been really busy because none of the kids looked alike.
Whoever said that the world’s best psychiatrist is a puppy licking your face was only partially on target. He or she missed that even an old guy like Cid–for at age 9 he is officially an “old dog”–can provide the same comfort. A couple of good slurps is all it takes. The world may not be full of tweeting birds with a Tree of Knowledge in the middle of the backyard, but that big doggy tongue sets an awful lot to right.
The gray in his muzzle wasn’t there a couple of years ago. Like humans, his hair turns color. Unlike humans, he doesn’t care enough to try to color it.
I taught a poem to my Community College composition people yesterday. The ones who have dogs at home got it at once. Mark Doty wrote it about one of his Golden Retrievers. Appropriate to what we learn from our dogs, he called it “Golden Retrievals.”
A dog comes with a very simple instruction manual:
One of my students doesn’t walk her dog. I was slightly aghast until she told me it’s a Pomeranian. You don’t have to take them out, though what dog can resist a romp or at least a stroll? You can train little dogs to go on a puppy pad. True, it spares you going out on nights when even the Eskimos stay indoors, but you also miss much of the companionship that comes from watching the dog sniffing the world around him, identifying who’s there by the odors he picks up, talking to him, and protecting him from the local trailer trash who leave antifreeze pools in the street.