There are few dogs that I look forward to seeing, especially big dogs. Titan, a Great Dane puppy, sneaked up on me a few days ago and I just about died; at least I was immediately flat on my back with all four paws up in the air, pretending I had died. Luckily, he just sniffed me and moved on.
However, I always wiggle gleefully when I run into Spiff, who is a big dog. I’ve known him since I was a puppy hanging out on the sidewalk in front of our house in my exercise pen. Spiff’s owner, Andy, always made sure I had enough water and shade, and let Heather know about it if I didn’t. While I barked at most of the dogs that tried to walk up my street, I always let Spiff nuzzle me through the pen. I just liked his gentle way and the way he smelled. Spiff was old, even then. Now, more than four years later, Spiff is really old. But Spiff is still living large, thanks to Andy, who is a saint. Andy makes sure Spiff gets around to all of his old haunts. He calls him “honey” and uses a harness to help get him around. Spiff is a big boy; Andy is not.
Spiff usually holds court on the weekends near the parking lot in Discovery Park. But the other day we found him lying by a bench along Magnolia Boulevard, a popular place for dog walking, especially for senior citizen dogs who can’t manage the terrain of park trails. It’s pretty flat along the sidewalk, and there are lots of grassy areas for resting.
Spiff rose when we approached and let us all say hi. I jumped up and licked his nose. Then I dashed off to play ball with Heather and see what kind of rabbit activity I could find in the underbrush, while Mike paused to take Spiff’s picture. “Make sure you get his good side,” Andy advised, but by then it was too late. As soon as Spiff sensed what was going on, he refused to cooperate any further.
I just hope I can still enjoy life as much as Spiff does when I get that old. And that Mike and Heather remain as dedicated to me as Andy is to Spiff. I think they will. Mike, especially, seems very familiar with that particular stretch of parkland along the boulevard where old dogs walk, like he’s been there many times before. When my time comes, I’m sure I’ll be in good hands.