My Friendship With This Dog

img_5876Sorry for the radio silence for a little while, everyone. I’ve started a new job recently, had a monstrous head cold, struggled to find time for blogging when Miss Nala is informing me of the dastardly neglect I am inflicting upon her by not rubbing her sweet little head–and this space has languished for it. Never fear–I have a few interesting posts planned.

But Denise Fenzi’s lovely meditation To Own a Dog, published last week, reminded me that I’ve been sitting on a pretty significant development or three.

Last month was the day we celebrate as Nala’s birthday. It’s probably not her actual birthday, but it’s a significant day nonetheless. It’s the day she was picked up by a local shelter, and, thus, the day she started winding her circuitous way toward us. We celebrated with a sunset hike, like you do.

A few days later, it was my birthday. And Nala got me the best present ever.

“Mom? Are you coming? Here, I’ll come get you.”

Notice anything about that picture? Look again. I’ll wait.

 

NO LEASH, guys!

Since that first time, Nala has gotten to spend at least some of every hike we’ve been on off leash. And I’ve gotten to meditate and bask in the utter joy of meandering along unhindered with this good, good dog.

Most of all, I love what I’m learning about Nala as we explore together. I love speculating on whether she’s part deer as she lopes through wood and field; I love watching what she chooses to sniff, and what totally fails to interest her; I love her frequent check-ins, and the way that when she gets about thirty feet away, she looks back and, when I speak to her, charges back to me. Although she hasn’t failed a recall (well, almost–more on that another time. Let’s just say I know exactly what breaks her brain), I rarely need to call her, because she clearly enjoys keeping track of us just as much as she enjoys exploring. My heart grows three sizes every time we hike together.

How lucky we humans are, to get to enjoy the friendship of dogs. How lucky I am, to have this good little dog as my friend.

img_6200
Playing on the trail with a very wet dog.

 

A few minor issues of housekeeping: I have more planned this week and next, including three review posts, a little discussion of what breaks Nala’s brain and how I plan to work on it, a discussion of the seminar I went to a while back, and, looking forward, some research I’ll do in advance of a herding clinic I’m auditing next month! I’m excited about all of it, and looking forward to getting back into the swing of writing now that I’m accustomed to the rhythms of a new job.

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