Under the circumstances of late, I've done a lot of thinking about heart dogs, lately. It's a saying among us dog folks - a heart dog is the sort that just get into your heart, and they're the dogs that you look back on and compare all other dogs to. They're those dogs that you think of, twenty years later, longer, and you realize you had not only a wonderful pet, but you had an animal that understood you as much as you understood them. You remember their gestures, their behavior, you can think of all the things they did and laugh and cry about it.
You can still pick up their collars after years have passed, out of a drawer and a dusty old shelf and the smell of them lingers in there -it brings back an instant, painful loss. Odd, but true. And no, no, I don't go around pulling old collars out and sniffing them. Really.
Now, the thing is, I've decided that there's another quality that doesn't get mentioned as much. A soul dog. A dog who you and they have the exact same outlook on life, and because of it, you just enjoy them and they enjoy you. They don't have that adoration point that perhaps a heart-dog seems to, they don't gaze with worship and love up at you and work their hearts out for you, even when you know they're tired or exhausted or just plain having a day.
Riley, I think is my soul dog. He is positive he is not a dog. He has never been a dog. He does dog things once in a while, but only because Simon forces him into it. He missed out on puppyhood, really, being silly, or doing puppy things. I am lucky, with him. He is my puppy mill rescue, the dog that bit to bite at twelve weeks, who was unpleasant and bitter and downright a terrorist when I got him, a a tough, tough cookie to crack in so many ways.
The only person that he truly, truly thinks understands him is me, and he rarely wags, rarely bounces around with a toy. He matured quickly into this dignifed, polite, long suffering dog. He sleeps in until two in the afternoon when he can. He barely ever licks; if he does, it's because I need cheering up -- but no one else gets to see. His one weakness is candy, of any sort, heh....
He's never missed a day at the shop. That is his job, the one he has chosen for himself. He works, he is the employee I've got who can be throwing up and will still stagger to the car, regardless. If I need to go somewhere at two in the morning, he's waiting for me quietly to get into the car, no matter the rain, the cold, the snow. Both of us get short-tempered, hahaha, both of us are terrible about grudges, I can admit it. We're not fond of ill-behaved children in the shop, but both of us tolerate it and grumble about it when they're gone. He never seems to forget an insult or an injury.
Then, every once in a blue moon, he surprises me with his humor. He knows the sound of the camera and immediately poses for the shot, and knows not to move until the shutter clicks. I have all these pictures of him with these huge grins, when it's just the two of us. He dances around my feet when no one's looking. Sometimes the stub even wiggles as he grins a big grin and it's a secret, just between the two of us. We wrestle and he growls and grunts a Corgigrunt and I laugh back at him as he laughs at me.
And then we're done, and no one's any the wiser. ;)