Only three weeks ago, Toby was in the shelter where I volunteer. He knew nothing about walking politely on leash, or sitting when asked or “down” or “stay,” which he can do now (most of the time). He didn’t know from cats (HE DOES NOW) or peanut butter kongs, baths or fuzzy towels rubbing him dry.
I have learned some things too. I know where the screech owl roosts in our back yard when it calls in the night and how many wild bunnies dine among the scraggly rosebushes. I know the secret route of the deer band as they graze their way among the neighborhood hosta gardens. I know which neighbors leave their homes at 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, 7:00am.
The musty scent of earth on a midsummer dawn is once again mine to breath. The pure animal smell of wet dog fur permeates the garage where Toby is dried off from the rain and the clothesline downstairs sports a colorful array of old towels in various stages of drying. I vacuum more often now and just ordered a Dysan machine with the special pet hair pickup tool. I don’t leave the house without dog treats in one pocket and a plastic bag in the other.
I am also reminded of the exuberant welcome at the end of a workday, no matter how lousy the day may have been. An uncontrollable tail wag at the prospect of a ride in the car, the vicarious excitement I feel when Toby rips at top speed through the yard for the sheer joy of motion.