You never speak a word yet are able to explain one of life’s biggest lessons: unconditional love.
You never take me for granted and when I need you…always oblige. I keep you in my side view mirrors. Watching you smile with your face in the wind. All those sights and smells may be sensory overload but you are incapable of not relishing every moment. I still think with relative certainty that everytime the wind presses against your jowels and ears that you must pretend to fly.
There’s an old Ojibway folktale that explains the bond between dog and man was created due to a great earthquake seperating the first man and woman on earth. And while all the other animals may have scattered fearfully in all directions, only the dog lept across the chasm to stand side by side with the man. The leap of faith I took was bringing you home from the pet drive where we found you emaciated and in need of veterinary help. We fed you and cared for you and ,of course, we spoiled you. By the time you regained your strength our bond was permanent. You also sought me out for an occasional nap on the sofa at the end of a long day as well as made certain I was comforted when recovering from illness.
Never to be apart again for very long, when we do reunite the response is always the same…heart melting. When the time comes to travel together, you bound down the stairs and in to the back seat of the car. No doubt you wonder where we’re headed on these long trips and a few of the ones we regularly repeat you memorized the sites, sounds and smells and even the rhythm of the wheels. You have to think it is crazy to spend so much time trapped in such a confined space instead of stretching your legs in a wide open field of tall grass with the trajectory of a tennis ball in your peripheral view like it is a career making hail mary pass to a freshman receiver. You always run until you can run no more.
Not to say you are mute. Far from it.
Like that night a trespasser tested the front door handle and latch of our house from the outside…it was your call to arms that prepared us. Whenever the neighbors’ children need entertainment you are eagerly the center of attention and use your playful bark to excite and tease them. Conversely, whenever you hear your master’s voice on a long distance call home your whimpering responses are enough to warm the iciest of cold and calloused hearts. You also employ this technique whenever there are savory table scraps to be had. No one can resist the temptation to scratch your head and spoil you…even the ones who think no one else is looking.
Silent Partner? Yes and no I suppose. But you never take a back seat in our hearts and minds.