2605, Guest Dogs
Wednesday Evening, October 8, 2002
Last week I rolled into the farmhouse, jumped out of the truck, and walked toward the porch with my briefcase and a pile of mail in my arms. As I made the flagstone sidewalk, two big chocolate labs labored to their paws and came over to greet me, tails wagging, faces up, tongues licking their noses to improve the fragrance gathering capacity(?). They had been leaning against the brick wall, matting the grass and soaking up solar power, and I immediately recognized them as the dogs from over on Ivy Hill Road. They are so old but so friendly. Over the years, they have come up to the house by following the springhouse discharge run. They must start out playing in the Beaver Dam Run, get lost, and finally make it up to Belhaven Farm. I am always glad for their visit, and I try to imagine them picking me on purpose rather than by accident.
I hailed them with good conversation and a light hand. They were significantly older then the last time they had been at the farm, and the long toenails of the lesser one (Hannah) gave her away as pretty sedentary. Sophie looked about twenty pounds over weight, so neither one was svelte, but I opened the door and they came on in. Benny Superdog was unsure at first. A little timid, he looked at me expectantly, like it was all a bad dream. Sophie and Hannah drained his water bowl, drained it a second time, limped right past him like he was invisible, then thumped down on the library floor as if to say, “We’re yours now. Could you please call somebody to let them know we’re here?” I petted them and got the number off the tag, made the call and was warmly received by a lady who said she had been driving around all afternoon looking for them. I explained that they were safe and resting, gave directions, and walked outside to wait for her arrival.
It was a gorgeous afternoon, so rather than sit on the brick wall, I laid down in the soft, late summer grass. The dogs decided they would join me. They lounged with me, leaning against me, relaxing, licking my attentive hands, just being dogs.
When the lady came, she whipped out a little dog ramp, explaining that they could no longer jump into the back of her SUV. While she was trying to unfold it, both of them jumped in, then the older one (who was the mother of the other), jumped over the rear seat and plunked down on the upholstery. We both laughed, and as I closed the hatch and waved goodbye, I told them they were welcome anytime.
I’m sure they understood me.