My dog is a whole different animal – but still a lot like me

 

Bob Boulton

Bob Boulton

He growls and grrrs as he stares down the green garbage bag flapping in the wind. He strains on his leash. He sniffs, walks, he stops and walks again. Focused.

He’s beside me now, slurping up the droppings from last night’s barbecue. Living life in the right here and the right now. Snacker, our dog, is mindfulness on four legs.

Not for him, though, the reorganization of accumulating accumulations. Stuff. That’s for humans, not dogs.

On this sunny autumn afternoon, my stuff reminds me of my humanity. Yes, this is finally the year to toss out that yellowing summer stock theatre playbill from the double “L” Holliday restaurant out on the Golden Mile. Along with my favourite green jacket and its frayed cuffs. And maybe one or two other things.

I have made my annual rediscovery of the mysterious house key. Squinting, I can decipher on the tag what is either an upside-down letter “i” or an exclamation mark. Either way, it must be important.

And, this morning, an unopened packet of zinnia seeds sailed past me, flying out of a clay pot that dropped from the second shelf and shattered on my foot. You may have heard the racket.

I was to have planted the seeds on May 24th. But the weather was too wet, or too dry or cold. I forget exactly which.

This fall, I have agreed to make plans and arrangements. Specific. Definite. Written. It was suggested I teach Snacker to “Stay” or “Heel” but his motivation for this kind of thing, alas, is demonstrably lacking.

He was never interested in chasing a stick. Or at least not interested in bringing it back. Which made for some unexpected explorations through unfamiliar territory.

On the other hand, Snacker can spell certain words, such as E-A-T, his head popping up just before meals. Maybe we’ll work on him telling time instead.

As for the key, I’ll file it in a safe and memorable place. Just in case we find the lock.

The kitchen junk drawer is the right storage spot. The key goes in with the zinnia seeds, joining a jumbo package of nasturtium seeds from the year before, and my handwritten directions to the Mandaumin Library from quite a few years back.

Junk drawers, it cannot be denied, are handy. And human.

Snacker is very fond of cheeseburgers, and that’s pretty human too.

But Snacker is a dog and dogs are not people. But, except for junk drawers and maybe one or two other things, they are pretty close to being human.

Bob Boulton is a Sarnia writer and the creator of a blog for new and renewing writers, bobswritefromthestart.blogspot.com