These days. These days. I am thinking of old dogs. The way they sleep so soundly lying in Winters’s sun. The soft sound of their snoring which fills me with my own kind of content. The way they look you in the eyes and hold eye contact because sometimes they talk that way. Because they know you coming and going. Know when you are good and when you are sad with a kind of loyal devotion you can’t buy. That’s hard pressed to find anywhere to match. One of my best old boys was a German Shepard named, Teddy - cause he looked just like a little teddy bear and Uncle Eddie Lewis got drunk and decided I needed a dog when I was 8. He knew where some pups were and talked Mama into driving us at night to get one but there were no people home and somehow this might have been part of his plan. He went around the house in the dark and came back with a puppy and put it in my arms where I sat in the back seat, then he climbed in front and told my Mama to drive. I remember her asking - Is this all right? - and him responding such and such in his three sheets to the wind way by that late hour - and we were gone. I love old dogs best but the way they start out with puppy breath is divine. I love old dogs dreaming, barking in whispers, their legs twitching as they chase something only they can see. I love the way the hair turns white around their face, mellow circles beneath their eyes. They are slow, and get slower still but their love has special power to ward off lonely fear and they can listen to you pour out your heart all night long. I’ve got to take care of old wild, dog Kevin today. He’s due for shots and checkups but for so many years, since big dog Titan passed, he has taken care of me. Guarded things up on the hill. Chased off coyotes and all manner of sketchy things moving in the dark. And when it’s all said and done - He deserves some extra bones and ‘good boy’s’ and dreams where he catches everything.
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