Dogs are soulful. Whether they indeed possess souls, I leave in God’s hands. I know what I know from my life.
I considered Sherlock, my first Seeing Eye dog, an old soul. He possessed wisdom beyond intelligence. He wore life like a loose garment. He flowed rather than walked, considered rather than reacted, observed rather than looked. To me, Sherlock had been around the cosmic block a few times.
I retain the imprint of sorrow left the day Sherlock died. His eight-year-old body surrendered to cancer. His goodness was, and remains, energy which cannot be destroyed, only transfigured. This truth, this law of nature, is my consolation.
Short weeks after Sherlock died, I met Randy. From the first, I found Randy to be a new soul. He is, literally and figuratively, the new kid on the block. He lurches and lunges, senses and reacts, gobbles, nudges and prods. He has no guile. He is refreshingly candid and forthright.
I have loved both dogs, I think equally. There is a season for being laid-back; there is a time to forge ahead. Sherlock was born old and died young. Randy will stay forever young, regardless of age. Their differences are ingrained at the molecular level.
Today I found how this essential difference manifests behaviorally. From it, I conclude that even without his harness, Sherlock knew that I needed care. Randy, unharnessed, is mindful only of where his own nose leads us, which, this morning was into a bush and a fence post. Not that Randy is uncaring. He has boundaries which he creates and respects. Harness means work and no harness means play. Randy acts like a twelve-year old boy and, as such, is aptly named. Sherlock acted like a middle-aged man, and so was aptly named. God love ‘em both, and protect me.
Jeff’s Note: I am in residence at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT, thanks to being awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Access Writing Fellowship. We caught half the Nor’easter that hit the East Coast. Sherlock would have made snow angels; Randy excels as a trailblazer, in harness, that is.