Why Every Curmudgeon Should Have a Dog
Today is the 1,450th day since my blood and marrow transplant. There is nothing particularly splendid about the number 1,450 except, perhaps, that it is a nice round number and rather close to 1,500 — still 50 days away. I was expounding upon this pedestrian mile marker to my hapless companion for the evening. Dante is four years old and seems rather unimpressed by most of my ramblings — normal for any canine, I guess.
Digression: I was painfully shy as a child, and decided at the tender age of 5 or 6 years to climb out of my shell and insert myself into the world of the adults around me. At first, they found my efforts humorous, even precocious. Soon, the novelty wore off, and I began to notice phrases like “shut up” and “smart ass” peppering conversation around me. My brothers and sister avoided the near occasion of my presence and my few friends found reasons to be elsewhere whenever I began to expound my juvenile wisdom. Little wonder, I joined the high school debate team as a freshman.
OK, I’m Back: One tends to retain such habits, and I still like to hear myself talk. This may explain many of Marian’s sudden naps. I thought my solution had arrived two years ago with Dante, a cheerful and sometimes noisy American Eskimo dog. He and I hit it off immediately, especially since I like to walk (when my condition allows it) and he just adores walking — even at the snail’s pace I maintain. I liked the time spent walking, because I was also talking — about every topic that has ever interested me. I figured it did not matter, as he understood only certain words, such as Dante, food, treat, walk, and “NO!”
Winter necessitates time spent indoors, so my soliloquies often take place when I’m cooking or washing dishes, etc. He likes his rug near the back door (also near the sink) and patiently lays there watching me as I prattle on.
Fast forward to tonight, and I am once again at the sink, talking up a storm. The blustering was reaching maximum intensity when my fuzzy, white companion stood up, gave me what can only be described as an exasperated grimace (not easy with a face full of fur), and stalked from the kitchen. Annoyed at losing my audience, I followed him into the living room, where I found him quietly contemplating his favorite tennis ball.
"Dante! What's this all about? What'd I say to cheese you off?" I quietly inquired. He stood up, shambled over to me, and sat on my left foot. He stared at me until I petted him. Then he shambled on back to his tennis ball and settled back down with a sigh.
I'd been placated and dismissed, so I finished my chores in silence...until I heard the tennis ball bounce on the floor behind me. Dante was back, ready to listen to more droning or just quietly watch.
It's good to have someone who just listens without judging... Well, mostly...