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Thursday, February 17, 2005


devoted

Larry loves me.

Dave's not threatened, of course, because Larry's a dog. He's 120 pounds of fur covered, coiled up energy. He's a sniff and a wiggle and a shiver of "touch me," all bound up in a big black bundle. I love him right back.

He's not quite two, but he thinks he's a man-dog. When Dave leaves the house, and I'm home alone, Larry walks the fence. He circles the house, scans the trees, barks at the wind, and lets our little corner of the world know that he's on duty, and he's not playing games.

He waits for the slightest sound from me. If I turn the knob on the front door, he's on the porch in two seconds flat. If I move the slider an inch, he gallops around the corner and stands at attention. If I try to sneak out the back door to bring in a pile of firewood, he shadows me. Last week, I decided to split some of the larger pieces so they'd fit in the stove easier. Larry didn't like that. He whimpered as I lifted the splitting mall above my head and dropped it on the upturned chunk, and when I missed my aim a few pieces later, knocking the wood off the block and almost cutting my leg, he slid over and stood between me and the chopping block. I think he would have taken that axe out of my hand if he could've figured a way to do it.

When the four of us return home after a time away and crest the hill leading down our driveway, we can look past the Centennial Trail, across the creek and up the pasture, and watch Larry doing his loop. We don't know how or why it started, but he has a route he runs whenever he hears us coming home. He gallops through the fruit trees, rounds the holly tree, then flies past the large pine near the chicken coop, jumps the fence surrounding the goat barn, circles the pasture twice in a big, boisterous loop, and then dashes back just in time to meet our approaching car. It's his joy run. We're home--and he has to release some of that pent-up ecstasy.

I'm not sure if we taught him to do so, or if love compels him, but when we all pile out of the car and walk up the porch steps and open the door, he waits. He lets all four of us go inside first, and then he cocks his head to one side and waits to see "yes" in our eyes. Only when we say it, only when we give a nod and say, "Go to your mat, Larry," will he burst through the door.

He's almost always inside with me when I'm alone. And when I do invite him in, he follows me from room to room. Though he's supposed to stay on his cedar-stuffed mat in the tiled area of our dining room, he knows the rules don't apply when we're home alone. He knows I can't deny him the right to follow me to the kitchen, where he lays across the floor like a speed bump. "Move, Larry," I say, but he knows by my tone that I really mean, "You're the best dog ever." As I type this, he's laid out on the carpet right near my feet, with his head so near-to-touching that I can feel the warmth of him.

Yesterday, the kids and I were home together. Zac was in the dining room digging through the fruit bowl for a ripe-enough pear, when I heard him say, "Looks like we have company." I looked out the dining room window and saw two huge dogs in the big grassy area below our patio. Larry must've figured that with Zac home, he could afford to take a short break, because he wasn't alarmed at all by the intruders. In fact, as I watched, he wagged his tail in an I'm-so-glad-you-stopped-by manner, traversed the slope leading down to the lawn, and trotted over for a friendly sniff-and-greet.

I don't want strange dogs on the premises. They won't love our cats the way Larry does, and they'll chase the ducks right out of their feathers. So I went outside, hoping my presence would shoo the dogs away. The brown one took the hint and headed for the woods, but the bigger, older-looking dog looked merely intrigued. Larry glanced up at me and then back at his new friend, tail still swishing.

"Get!" I yelled, in the sternest voice I could muster. And in the fraction of a second it took for my word to ride the wind, Larry transformed. My displeasure curled his lip and released a snarl from somewhere deep. He rose up, pounced, and bit a warning in the side of the other dog's neck. The dog responded, and for about thirty seconds, they fought.

I had to call him off. The other dog took a few nonchalant steps toward the woods; I encouraged him the rest of the way with a few poorly-tossed rocks. And then I called my protector to my side and let him know how much he meant to me.

Larry loves me. When I want to walk, he walks. When I prefer to sit by the fire, he joins me there. He loves what I love and hates what I hate. His ears are ever tuned to catch the slightest whisper from my lips, and I'm convinced he'd fight to the death to protect me. He's devoted to his master.

Oh, that I might be as devoted to mine.

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6 Comment:

At 2/18/2005 1:36 AM, Blogger Kim had this to say ...

Too cute. Makes me miss my Tobey... *sniffle* Love the end of your post! :)

 
At 2/18/2005 8:27 AM, Blogger HerWryness had this to say ...

Wow! Made me paws and pray.

 
At 2/18/2005 9:41 AM, Blogger StinaL had this to say ...

That was great!

Love, Krystina

 
At 2/18/2005 3:56 PM, Blogger Kim had this to say ...

HerWryness ~ LOLOL...

 
At 2/19/2005 2:43 AM, Blogger Hope had this to say ...

What a sweet post...and cute picture. :)

 
At 2/22/2005 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

Shannon!
Larry is adorable...makes me want a dog(we're renters who can't have pets and can't pay the exorbitant pet fees required even if they were allowed :-().I love big dogs as well as small ones.My fave breeds are Labs and Bichon Frise's.I pray I am as devoted to my Master as Larry is to you!
Love,Sharon

 

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