Randy turns five today. That’s 35 people years, though Randy doesn’t act his age. On his puppy days, he acts nine; on mature days, he’s ten. He’s still a kid at heart, especially when we visit the lake.
We sit at the end of the pier. Randy wants to swim, but I have hold of his leash and he knows not to take a dive. I wish I could let him go in the water, but I fear it would end badly. Untethered, he might swim away, like he’s done before. Tethered, he might wrap himself around a piling, run out of rope and drown. Either way, I fear it would end badly.
Randy stares across the water. He does not fuss. Some dogs get sneaky to get what they want. Randy is without guile. Some dogs get whiney to make a point. Randy is forthright. I could leave a plate of meat loaf on the dining table, go to the kitchen for a glass of milk, and return to find him unmoved and drooling, staring a hole through that meat loaf. Some dogs resort to thievery. Not Randy. Some dogs connive to get what they want. Randy stares across the water, ever hopeful.
So we sit at the end of the dock. A carpet of reflected sunlight runs right to our feet. We could almost walk across the water. The stream of light, Randy and me. I do not see this, yet it is my vision. This is the image I will carry forward. Some day soon, God willing, Randy’s people years will equal mine. He’ll be an old dog and I an old man. Randy stares ahead. I put my arm around him and stroke his ear. I am soothed by softness—my dog’s ear, my wife’s whisper, my great good fortune.