Another thing which makes me happy: My neighbor’s dog Zoe.
I’m not a huge dog person. Our 18-year-old rescue, Little Girl, has sort of an annoying bark due to being 1/2 Beagle and 1/2 half Let’s-Annoy-Corinne. But I’ve been tolerating her for that last 15 years. I can almost tune out her frantic insistence that everybody come out here and look at the wind, right now. She goes through spells, sometimes in the space of a day. She barks for a half an hour straight or remains completely silent for a week.
But Zoe. Ah, Zoe. Zoe moved into the house sold by Scott and George, whom I greatly miss. They took away their old fella, Poodle. Such a spunky dude, was Poodle! But then, I got Zoe.
Zoe brought two people with her, and I like them well enough. But the dog, now, that’s something to bark about. She has a sweet face, a friendly amble, and a plethora of barks that establish how she feels about you at any given time.
When I get out of my car, Little Girl slowly trots to the gate and sticks her nose through the metal, demanding to be petted, fed, let into the house, or in some way acknowledged. I bend and oblige to the extent that my fingers fit through the gaps. She turns her eyes towards me then signals to the back door, with a shrug that tells me that she knows I’ve abandoned her for eight hours but might forgive my oversight if I immediately let her into the house.
But Zoe. Ah, Zoe! All the while, Zoe barks with a wild abandon to show that she remembers the sight and smell of She Who Tosses Milk Bones Indiscriminately Over The Fence.
I’m not, as I said, a dog person. I’m fond of Little Girl because she’s the sentient being who, other than my son, has endured in my household through all the tragedy, through all the tears, through all the heartaches. I find it difficult not to feel affection in the face of what can be interpreted as loyalty. She sits at my feet when I collapse into a chair, overwhelmed with fatigue or worry. If I should cry, she places her muzzle on my knee and fixes deep brown eyes on my face. I’m not a dog person. I’m not sure, though, whether Little Girl is actually a dog. She might be an angel.
But Zoe! Ah, that Zoe. She flies into a frenzy when I come out onto the porch. She knows I’m going to lob that treat through the air! She tenses. My hand rises. She leaps. Ah, Zoe! Almost, girl. You almost caught it! Next time!
I send you greetings, on this, the eighteenth day of the forty-third month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.