Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Part of the Pack

Just up the hill from my small Georgetown apartment was a large park with several grassy areas, tennis courts and woods with a stream running through it where one could take a break from the concrete.  No surprise that it was a popular place for the local residents to bring their dogs.  In the early mornings and in the early evenings, the park was filled with running, catching, barking and fetching dogs - and their humans.

Unaccompanied by a canine companion, I could walk through the park as if invisible.  On the few occasions when I had custody of a friend's dogs, however, suddenly I became quite noticeable.  The leash, the collar, the wagging tails were my passport, the secret handshake that grants entrance into the private club.  Fellow dog walkers and owners came over to say hello and chat.  With two dogs trotting close to my heels, I was immediately embraced within the doggy community.  The only thing more effective at attracting attention would've been pushing a carriage with a cute baby in it.

Something similar and equally interesting has happened now that Kel and I are dog owners.  We do not have a public park nearby to take Ike to, but when we bring him with us on errands, people want to come over and meet him (it doesn't seem to matter that Ike really isn't interested in meeting them).  Saying hello to Ike is an introduction to us and usually the segue into a long conversation. 

Doggy aunts and uncles have appeared out of the woodwork.  Friends and family members keep telling us how happy they are that we finally have a dog.  They sound almost relieved.  Most can't believe it took us so long.  How could we live on a big ranch and not have a dog - and if not a dog, at least a pet of some kind?  What, exactly, had been wrong with us?  Unbeknownst to us (but common knowledge to everyone else, apparently) something big had been missing from our lives.  Suddenly, Kel and I, by the simple virtue of having Ike, somehow became more human.


  1. Walking a puppy is an even bigger invitation to strangers to say hello. The most dog attention I ever got was when I took my 9-week-old dalmatian puppy to the N.C. beach one fall. People couldn't come over fast enough! That was more than 20 years ago, but I expect a dal puppy would still generate interest. I don't know if dogs make us more human, but they certainly make us more approachable. (In our family, we aspire to be more dog-like, at least, more like our golden retriever -- easy to please, always happy, and extremely forgiving. The eating garbage part I can do without!)

  2. Could not agree, more, Annie! Dogs (and cats for that matter) complete a family in my view. Peter and I are now at a stage, having had them all our married lives, when they have become a luxury, if only for the vet's bills.

    But, you'll never regret becoming a dog owner: now, if you've mice or rats on the farm - well, you just need a cat, unless Ike is a natural ratter?

    Look forward to the stories such an addition might create!


  3. Oh that's so true - puppies are irresistible!

    Isobel, despite the big changes in our life since Ike came into it - I wouldn't trade it back. He's brought us so much joy and fun. And he's pretty darn good at going after rodents!

  4. I'm glad you have Ike and I bet he's glad he has you too. Funny how you hear about these things after the fact, huh?

    I know after we adopted Emi, we heard from everyone about how sick they were of the pictures of our cats (who were our first babies and are still around after 15 years). Whoa...harsh!

    Hope you had a great Christmas!


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