The Dog Bar

I am dogless and have been so for over a decade. But I love them passionately, all of them, regardless of age or breed. I (like most dog owners) had the absolute BEST DOG IN THE WORLD a number of years ago — Tug. He passed away as a consequence of cancer and I miss him every day. There have been others – J.T., Champ, and Roscoe, with Roscoe being the only remaining pup. He lives with his Alpha Dog ex-Pat, and he’s getting on in years. I’ve never been home enough since I’ve lived alone to feel like I’d be able to give a dog the care he or she would deserve, though I’d be overflowing with love.

When I lived in the Cottage, we had the pleasure of the Big House’s pug, Poppie, for company. He would wander in whenever he wanted and explore the delights of the garbage. Since I’ve lived in the Bungalow, I’ve co-habitated with cats, so no dogs were allowed. As we move to the Retreat, we expect that our travels will take us away from home too much for a dog. We should also learn how to live together (and get our cats to live together) before we introduce another living being into the mix.

In a perfect world, I’d win the lottery, buy a huge tract of land, and make it a home for senior dogs, giving them all the comfort and adoration they deserve in their golden years. That’s the dream. Living in reality, however, I find that I need that my spirit needs the company of dogs and since I don’t have my own, I must seek them out. They have the best souls, so pure-hearted. The dog park is within walking distance, but I feel like a real creeper when I go to the dog park without a dog to interact with other people’s dogs (not the people, just the dogs). So that’s out.

There are often dogs at the wonderful coffee shop two blocks over, but without fine weather, sitting on the patio, where I can interact with the dogs is not an option. Besides, people keep their dogs close by when they’re there. There’s Home Depot about 10 miles away and I can sometimes get a dog fix there, but again, people are there with a purpose and usually don’t want to dally about with a woman who just wants to pet their dog.

Fortunately, we are blessed with a Dog Bar at the far end of our Main Street, run by a lovely couple who are alumni of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. The place has opened up some as COVID-19 restrictions are eased, although it still has a lot of rules that apply to people, but not to dogs. I was lucky enough to score a seat at a barrel in the outside dog yard the other day, when I realized that one of the reasons I was out of sorts was because I had not pet a dog in at least two weeks. Unacceptable.

Entering the dog yard, I was immediately greeted joyfully by no fewer than six dogs. They acted as if I was an old friend that they hadn’t seen in years – it was lovely. (I’m going to believe that they saved that greeting just for me, not for any other patrons.) I do think they instantly know that I, being an animal shaman (in training), understand them. I smiled more broadly beneath my mask than I could remember doing for weeks. Dogs just have that effect, don’t they?

It was impossible to get all of their names. Cooper, the beagle mix, did not leave my knee for most of the time I was there. There was a lovely black and white fellow who nestled between my thighs. Two corgis (brothers), one with a tail (which I had never seen on a corgi before), who could walk under the picnic bench seats without being aware of their lack of height. A shy greyhound rescue who was quick to get a little panicked when overwhelmed, but who had made great strides in socialization. Domino, an imp with a harlequin face. A small rat terrier. A Bassett mix. I could go on and on. Everyone raced about playing, occasionally marking territory or pooping. Owners were quick to hand with their little green bags before any other dog could snack on such deposits.

Bliss. I sat nursing a glass of wine and petting dogs until the sun went down and it was too cold to be outside. My faith in the ways of the world according to dogs had been restored. We’re expecting somewhere between 10 to 40 inches of snow between tomorrow and Monday, so I doubt I’ll be venturing out there again for a while. Oh, but I do so look forward to my next visit, with all the best dogs.

Cooper.

Daily gratitudes:
Blue skies
The five-second rule
My truck
The return of the birds
Saving veggie scraps to feed the bunnies in the snow

Quote of the day:
“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” — Orhan Pamuk

Animal Magnetism: An Introduction

The title of this post is, once again, something that could take any number of paths, but allow me to clarify. One thing you didn’t know about me: I am an animal person. I love almost any animal — monkeys and mice are really the exceptions to that statement. My love of animals has evolved significantly over the years. As a child, my interest was rather ordinary (with one exception, to be revealed at a later date). We didn’t have dogs or cats when we were growing up. We had two turtles for quite a long time, and two gerbils. And once a cat wandered into the house. That was it.

Our neighbors had a wonderful little black puppy when I was about seven and if I was well-behaved, I was allowed to go over to their back stoop to play with Gremlin, and occasionally, the Jack Russell terrier (whose name was Ethelred and he could perfectly imitate the sound of an ambulance, always doing so when one passed by) on the other side of the duplex next door. I reached out to the lovely former neighbor a few years ago, finding her through some internet sleuthing, and she said they’d had other dogs, but never one as special as Gremlin. It warmed my heart that she still remembered the little girl next door, many moves and half a century later.

My house is full of animal-related objects, some cute, some bizarre, but all adorable in my opinion. Others might disagree, and focus more on the bizarre aspects of what I like to think of as my cabinet of curiosities, though the collection far exceeds the boundaries of any standard cabinet. I also have a skill as an animal communicator, which many people may think is a total crock, but it’s actually a thing. I have some training as a shaman, and for whatever reason, that training has resulted in a deeper connection with animals.

I tell you all of this because in future posts, I’ll explain my connections, deep or shallow, with many and varied species of animals. I look forward to sharing and I hope you look forward to reading. I leave you tonight with an image of Clyde in a rare moment of semi-serenity. You’ll have to wait to hear his story.