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Henry Joy

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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Henry (my 8 month old golden retriever) is the epitome of joy in the moment. He lets life live him.

When I got him up this morning, he greeted me exuberantly. Wag wag wag in a blur, on his hind legs. Kisses! Brought me a personally-selected toy (today, his big red kong!) And then wanted to go outside, right away.

Of course I knew that he'd need to do his business. Probably quite urgently.

But that was not his first priority!!

It was all about joy. He could not contain his joy. At being alive. At it being time to get up. Expressed on the deck in three pouncing backwards twirlies to the left. Then three more pouncing backwards twirlies to the right. Watching me enjoying his joy.

Only then bounding off into the back yard. OK. there's a job to be done. He looked over towards me, still standing at the back door. I nodded my approval, "Good dog!" And that triggered more Henry bounding around the back yard, taking pleasure in being recognized for being such a good dog. Henry is so confident that he IS a good dog. Of course he's a good dog!!!

Before bounding towards the back door, which I held open for him. And expectantly towards the chow cupboard. Where he sat for the first scoop. Snatched a mouthful. Sat for the second scoop. Snatched another mouthful. Sat for the third scoop. ("What a good dog!!!) And only then dug right in!!!

All gone. Right back outside. More racing around, pouncing and bouncing and bounding. I've read recently (in an article on identifying winter snow tracks) that some animals such as dogs and foxes move bi-pedally: left, right, left, right. That's Henry's running gait, of course. People too: although we just use our (back!) feet, we tend to swing our opposite arm forward with each step. Other animals such as rabbits and squirrels leap forward with both front paws, then both back paws which they may place ahead of their front paws. Henry does this too: forward and backward, when he's feeling playful. Like a kid on a polo stick or jumping Double Dutch. And yes, some animals such as skunks and raccoons and porcupines, tend to waddle -- both left feet, front and back, both right feet, front and back, which makes them lurch a bit side to side: That might have been me when pregnant or 90 pounds heavier!!

While we were sipping coffee and reading the newspaper, we decided to buy some peace by giving Henry one of his butcher bones from the freezer -- fresh beef bones cut about 4" wide with lots and lots of delicious marrow!!! As soon as he saw me going to the freezer, there was a hopeful expression on Henry's face. And when I took out the bone and gave it to him, Henry's was delirious!! So utterly appreciative.

His immediate celebratory response was not to begin chewing but to race around the back yard with the brand new prize bone. "My people love me," he was letting everybody know. "Just look what they've just given me!! Yes, ME!! ANOTHER bone!! What a lucky dog I am!!! I bet there's no other dog on the street who gets as many bones as I do!!!"

Back in the house, Henry once again gave exuberant thanks to both of us. Wags. Kisses. And only then settled in to gnaw. In blissful contentment.

I've got a whole lot of Henry bones, both in the kitchen at the house and at my office -- absolutely clean outside and inside, pure white gleaming bones. Once he's done with them, he's pretty much done . . . although occasionally he might check just to make sure there's nothing left. "Nope, good job. I finished that one!" you can see him thinking. "And that's OK. There will be more!!"

Life was good in the past. Life will be good in the future. No regrets, no fears.

Now I'm thinking: what can I do with all Henry's finished bones? Don't you think they'd make a stunning necklace? Pretty bulky, though. Perhaps more like a (canine) mayor's chain of office! Yup, our municipality of Henry is devoted to providing the services required by our singular canine citizen!!

And that bone necklace? Yup, might help remind ME that I can let life live ME me in the present too.
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