I always wanted a genius dog. You know, a dog like Lassie or Rin Tin Tin. Or maybe even Petey, from the Little Rascals. A dog that was easy to train, eager to please, and smarter than most people. After all, Lassie was the only one who ever knew where Little Timmy was and what he was doing.
As I grew up and wised up and stopped believing in fairy tales, I came to realize that dogs like Lassie and Rin Tin Tin only exist in the movies and television shows. And even then, it takes more than one dog to play them, as if just one critter could never possibly encompass all the amazingness expected of these larger-than-life characters.
And so, I was more than happy to content myself with the real-life canine companions of my youth and adulthood. They might not be geniuses, but they were warm and snuggly. They welcomed me home at the end of the day with an open, easy grin and a wagging tail. And that counts for quite nearly everything in life.
My current fuzz balls are sweet and lovely. They are snuggly, funny, and goofy. They make me laugh each and every day. They meet me at the door, always thrilled to see me — even if I’ve only been gone for a few minutes.
This summer, my daughter and I went to Texas to visit my parents. My husband stayed home with the dogs. Every day, he called me and then, at the end of the call, he let me Face Time with the pups. I don’t think it will come as any great surprise when I tell you this: Dogs don’t “get” Face Time. Oh, they loved hearing my voice. And they both looked at the phone and then licked it. And, immediately after, ran to the door, waiting with their tails wagging gently to see if I was going to come in from wherever-it-is that I happened to be. That’s what doors are for, after all. They are for coming in. I can’t assail this logic. Normally, it would be fool proof.
Geniuses? No, probably not. Just bright, happy, waggly pups. If I need a pick-me-up cuddle on the sofa, they are there for me, no problem. If I fall into a well … I’m probably on my own. They might peer over the edge at me in concern. They might even toss a ball or a favorite toy down on my head. I think they would even go so far as to hang around a bit, waiting on me to figure out how to climb my way out of the problem into which I had fallen. But, eventually, there would be a squirrel. Or a bird. Or a cat. It doesn’t mean they don’t love me. It just means that only so many things can fit into a dog’s head at one time.
And that’s OK by me. They make my life better in a hundred dozen little ways each and every day. After all, it’s not all that likely I’ll ever fall down a well. Now, if I could teach them to vacuum … that really would be something.