Awhile back I wrote an entry about dogs, and a few days later I wrote another entry about dogs. It was clear that dogs had enjoyed their fair share of face time on this sacred platform. I vowed to keep the lovable cement-heads out of this discourse for a month's time. Thankfully, the month has come and gone.
I still don't know his name. But today when I walked out of my office (where I teach my students the way of the world) to head to the bathroom, I saw none other than a dog standing alone in the hallway. A poochie of sorts. He and I looked at each other, both curious, both a bit shy. Finally, I walked towards him. He said nothing, but his tail began to oscillate, signaling that he felt this to be a positive development (since he can't smile or talk or move his face, his personality seemed to manifest itself mostly in his tail).
Once I was next to him, our vast height difference proved to be a barrier, so I knelt down to his level. I broke the ice by putting my hands on either sides of his head and clutching onto his ears. And though our interaction thus far had been in silence, I spoke:
And with that, I gave his ears one final affectionate squeeze, and that was that. I went on my way, and he on his.
A simple, yet pleasant interaction. Totally genuine, replete with mutual appreciation and respect, and without even a hint of awkwardness. Only with a dog could I have such a pure and wonderful correspondence. If I attempted a similar sequence with a squirrel, or fish, or insect, or bird, or bear, it would not go smoothly, and it would not end well. My turtle's head would be about two feet deep in his shell the instant I tried to massage his temples affectionately. If I clutched onto a human stranger's ears and complimented them in such a genuine, yet brash fashion, they would find me exceedingly patronizing and terribly creepy.
The dog, though, was pleased to have met me.