Friday, September 4, 2009

Dog Days

When I was younger I used to go on great expeditions about my neighborhood. I'd ramble up and down the streets, scamper up the neighbors' trees, and hide in people's bushes. Although I loved playing these games alone, I longed for a dog. I dreamt of what he would look like, how the leash would feel in my hand, how well behaved my dog would be.

After ten years of endless petsitting, I'm not much of an animal person anymore. But there are still a few dogs I love. This afternoon while walking Bear, the dog I'm petsitting right now, I felt a slight coolness in the air. So I set off to the park with him. He looks like a werewolf--his hair sticks up in tufts all over his body; the leash felt sticky in my hand; and he wasn't the least bit well behaved.

Yet I felt like a child again, in love with a puppy. We ran through the pine needles and onto the tennis court. Watching Bear streak madly around the court--his tongue lolling halfway to his knees, his rough paws skidding on the green cement--I realized why I love this dog. He has something of the beast in him. A wildness that will not be tamed by flannel beds or a leash. He is not a pet. He's a dog.

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