Siamese twins, joined at the leash. Asleep/awake. Work/play. Him and me, for better and worse. Not since training have we been so tethered. So intermingled.
Proximity breeds osmosis. He amazes me by being adaptable, annoys me by being inconsistent. He calms me with his serenity, riles me with his distractibility.
He makes safe strange paths covered with snowy camouflage. He leads straight across the bridge, diagonally over the crosswalk, circuitously along the paths, up and down the stairs. He scarfs chocolate crumbs under the dessert tray, yearns to join critters along the riverbank, sidles and sniffs poets and painters.
He has learned main-traveled routes, where to fork right walking north and cut left heading south. He shorelines the railing on the narrow sidewalk of the bridge over the river. He descends icy steps one, two, three, in tandem with my left, right, left. He gives extra breadth for me as sidecar to his sleek, black cruiser.
He needs reminders. That’s my part on our team. Keep him on task, override his detours and distractions. Dissuade that instinct to follow his nose down the path to the river. Or into the kitchen where those lusty smells live.
Yesterday, we had a slip. We walked in the street. A car had to stop for us. I guided him to the sidewalk. “What are you thinking?” I demanded. “Get your head in the game!” Then we retraced our steps and got it right. I could tell he felt bad. So I celebrate his success. He does well and by doing well even once, he is promise and hope.
He demands nothing and asks so little. How can I not meet his needs? He is mine; I am his every step of the way. Three meals a day. Vermont. 26 days, 24/7.
Jeff’s Note: My NEA Creative Access Writing Fellowship in Vermont is now more than half complete. Twelve pounds of dog food down, six to go.