The dog days of summer

August 4, 2019

“The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein is special because the narrator of the story is a dog named Enzo. “I’ve always felt almost human…Sure, I’m stuffed into a dog’s body, but…it’s what’s inside that’s important. The soul. And my soul is very human.”

Every pet owner knows their pet understands much of what they say. But Enzo gets frustrated a lot like my my dog Gracie does. If Gracie were able to write this column, she might say:

“I am adorable, lovable and popular. I have wonderful parents, but they misjudge me. ‘It’s not time for dinner,’ Lisa says. I was born hungry, and it’s not my fault. They may be able to tell clock time, but my stomach says there is no difference between 4 and 6 p.m. Time for a stare-down, which sometimes works. She eats an entire bowl of Cheez-Its in front of me and it’s a full hour before her dinner.

”I obediently go to my bed. Alright, sometimes I go to my bed, but I can’t help but wait at the front door and pop my head up every time I hear a car. All that standing up and down is stressful, and they could have chosen a home in a court, but no, the cars fly up and down our street all day.

“I know she tried to come up the street from a different direction, but she didn’t fool me. My little face was in the window saying, I hope you feel guilty, because you are way over your limit of outside time!

”I follow Lisa into the closet when she comes home from a restaurant. I can smell her shrimp scampi and the chicken wing Dad shared with her. This time my eyes say, Hold me. Stroke me. Kiss my belly. I have been so lonely without you. And she listens. And we have this little love fest with more kisses than anyone can imagine and I never want it to end.

”Even though I will forever be loyal to Lisa, I worship her sister Laurie. She brings me new toys and bags of treats. Understands that my parents worry too much about my weight. It’s the fur that weighs the most, and the reason I can’t walk on these sweltering hot summer days. So last week, they took me out early because they knew I hate the heat. And they let me rest in the shade. Then I drank from the puddles in the valley of the curbs. Let all four paws linger and soak.

”Psst – I hear there is a new dog in town named Lucy. I don’t know if I will like her as well as Randall, who left this earth to become a human, as Enzo would say. Enzo says all dogs become human and he plans to shake hands with his owner Denny some day. Lucy is a rescue like me. Way cool. We know the feeling deep in our soul. It’s called gratitude. Love them no matter what for however long we get.

”Last night my parents took another tour with the Cape Water Tours and Taxi. I knew she’d been with another dog. Turns out that Captain David Green and his wife Michelle let their 2-year-old Piper breathe the salt air and gaze at the sunset. Jealousy overtakes me.

”But what’s this? I heard her on the phone with Michelle just now and small dogs are allowed to take tours too. Hope for me yet.”

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