Am I some kind of dog whisperer?
Wowee, I’d forgotten how much I love dogs. First, Lulu (I think that’s the spelling; please don’t chew my shoes if it isn’t) developed a nice little friendly thing with me whenever I’d drop by Body Tribe, where her dogmom Allyson works as a trainer. I figured Lu, pretty much a black Labrador with a bit of Border Collie in her, was just kinda atypical of most pooches, and she just really liked me for some oddball reason, even though she kinda went all barky bark on me the first time we met a couple years back. Lu’s great, and whenever I need a shot of doggie love, I head over to Body Tribe and hang out with her.
Then I got a call the other day from a friend, Diane, who needed someone to spend time with Denver, her Australian Shepherd, and Annie, her Border Collie, for part of the weekend. I got lots of caveats: Don’t get upset if the dogs don’t like you much; they’re rescue pups; they have issues; Annie doesn’t even like it if you look at her, kinda like Barbara Streisand in the green room or something. But about an hour into our time together, they were nuzzling me and bugging me to pet them, and we spent lots of quality time just hanging out. I played guitar and sang, and they curled up at my feet and listened, or Annie would jump onto the couch and try to rest her head on my lap as I played and sang. Denver was supposed to be a fine vocalist in his own right, but I couldn’t get him to overcome his shyness and work out some harmonies with me. And then we got on the stairs, and I repeatedly would kick a tennis ball down, which Annie would retrieve with her lightning-speed reflexes.
I’ve been warming to dogs again lately, after the heartbreak of losing my dog Sammy Hagar Jr., or Sam, a pound pup who most likely was some kind of Newfoundland-Chow mix that my ex-wife rescued from the shelter, who also had issues, especially with SMUD and PG&E and AT&T workers, but especially with US Postal Service, UPS and FedEx delivery people. After the sudden demise of my marriage, I rented a room from this guy Phil where there was a house Alaskan Husky named Matilda who, sadly, is no longer with us, so I couldn’t bring Sam with me. And I was too shattered from the insane David Lynch-style end of my marriage to cope with taking care of a pooch, so I let Sam down, and me, too, much to my eternal regret.
Lately, I’ve been running into dogs, and even the putatively unfriendly breeds seem to like me and warm up to me, and I just have this special bond with them. I really can’t explain it, except it seems to have come alive in me as I’ve calmed down through the daily practice of Buddhist meditation. Or maybe this is what happens to guys like me who grow older and kinda mellow out — dogs take a shine to us for some weird, inexplicable reason.
Anyway, I’d kinda forgotten my connection with our four-legged friends. Until now. —Jackson Griffith