Summer is fading away and we are only now getting into the dog days of it. It has been hot all summer long, to be certain. But we usually temper that with afternoon thunderstorms and wild, hard, sideways rain. Sometimes it lasts for ten minutes, other times it goes on for hours. If we ever leave Florida, it will be those thunderstorms that I will miss endlessly.
Today calls for intermittent showers and storms, which somehow is the worst scenario. One minute, it is blindingly bright and the next is overcast. If you plan on rainy day activities – like a movie marathon, you might pull the shades and pile up quilts and pillows on the couch, seconds later feeling like a hermit as sunlight pours through the cracks around the blinds or curtains. The same problem persists with planning on anything outside. You pack fishing poles, bobbers and stale bread hoping to lure something onto a hook – but by the time you get to the bridge or spillway, the rain will cut you off, encapsulating you in the car until it relents. It’s a guessing game further complicated by the premium we place on free time.
To our dog, it is all good either way. To him, as long as he sees us, he is more than content. Each time one of us walks into the room, it is like we have been reunited after years apart. Hopefully, he nudges a toy in anyone’s direction that is available (I mean this is the broadest of terms – if you are alive he believes you would be better off playing with him). Often times, when I am rushed, I snub his attempts (and feel guilty immediately). As I am bending over beds and pulling sheets tight, his cold wet nose connects to my calf, or my hip and my eyes roll immediately. I keep going, fluffing pillows and folding down the top sheet. He persists, dropping a ball at my feet, or waggling one end of a tug rope in my direction. My half-hearted attempt at tugging at it leaves him confused – as if he is trying to determine if I am very weak or very bad at this game.
It’s here where I break every day; it’s the genuine concern he has that makes me forget he chewed my two favorite pairs of converse. I forgive him for thinking it was a hoot to dodge me when he slipped through the gate last week. I scratch his giant head – the same one that locks eyes with me prior to six in the morning when he needs to go out, and my irritation melts.
He is a big puppy so he does stuff like eating all but one of the cherry tomatoes I had in a bowl on the kitchen counter – a come up from the 16 Easter cupcakes he demolished once. But I admire the tenacity in which he pursues life – ultimately gaining the support from the frazzled and decaffeinated like myself. Every day for him is a new chance. Each morning he sets about eating his breakfast – the same exact thing he has eaten every day in this house for the past seven months – as if it is the most amazing thing ever. He keeps trying, undaunted by rebuffs.
I am going to take his lead today and be happy to just be. I get off track easily when I try to take responsibility for everything that is out of my control – I do this a lot – the weather, the happiness of everyone around me, I could keep going. It makes me miserable and everyone around me feels it too. Today I surrender to the dog days of summer – I am going to just go with. I might stretch out in a comfy spot and close my eyes for just a few minutes. Or ask some heavy hearted pal to play with me when it all seems like a bit too much. But I am definitely going to practice my puppy eyes in case a kind friend makes a delicious pizza they are on the fence about sharing.