Saturday, April 12, 2008

One of the Pack

Duncan is more than just my friend and mentor, he's also my dog. There is magic in the places he leads me and the things he shares with me––the simplicity and details of the world––but there is beauty in just watching him be a dog, doing the things dogs do.

Today we ventured back down to Wynetka Ponds where we met Melissa and Kona and five or six other dogs. I've always been a little nervous about dog parks. Our first experiences at the one in Stapleton were often frustrating and occasionally fearful. Maddie, Denise's dog, was attacked and injured several times so Duncan and I stopped visiting but walked the greenway in front of the park quite often. Our two trips to The Ponds, the park the community purchased to spare us more condos, have been quite different experiences. Today, while the dogs––Kona, two Jack Russells, a Collie, a Boxer, and two sort of mutty hunting dogs––played, I stood back with the grown-ups and simply watched. Duncan was beautiful beyond words, his red coat shining in the last of the afternoon sun. He romped and chased without fear, only occasionally returning to me, almost as if to check and make sure I was okay without him, before returning to the pack. He flaunted as he played, holding his tail and head high as he chased after whichever dog carried the lone tennis ball in its mouth, keeping quiet as most of the others barked and snapped playfully at each other. Someone once told me they imagined Golden Retrievers as laid-back surfer dudes, mellow, perhaps stoned, and willing to go along with anything. That comparison never quite seemed right to me. Today, though, I saw Duncan for what his breed really is: everyone's most trusted and reliable best friend, brave, smart, courteous, the one girls fall for and guys want to be, trustworthy and kind in everything he does. A perfect gentleman.

But he's not everyone's best friend. He's mine. And I'm his, and together we're just about as perfect as friends can be.


Chris & Mackenzie said...

I think Golden owners can not only relate to this post, but would agree wholeheartedly.

Beautiful post, Curt.

Wags - Chris & Mackenzie

liz said...

I'm not a Golden owner but I AM fond of the breed...(Collie girl myself).
I do know, however, of the friendship you speak, is one like no other.

Murphy's Mom said...

"the one girls fall for and guys want to be, trustworthy and kind in everything he does. A perfect gentleman." Great description! Love your writing!

Murphy is a chick magnet, and a child magnet, and a guy magnet...infact if he had his way, the whole world would be his dog park and he would romp and love and spread joy to all.
Daddy and I call him a furry Bodhisattva.

Curt Rogers said...

Duncan played with Hannah, a Collie, at The Ponds the other day. She hadn't been to a dog park in years and her owner was a bit fearful for her. To be honest, even I was fearful. The one Collie experience I'd had as a child had not been pleasant. That Collie was moody and loud and wouldn't let anyone touch her. Hannah, however, was gentle and kind, not at all skittish and you could feel the warmth in her spirit. AND she was brave enough to overcome her mistress's fears. Soon she was running and playing and jumping all around. Simply beautiful, with the kindest eyes.

Cheryl said...

Yup! I love my babies!

lizh said...

I'm glad you kept an open mind with 'Hannah'. There are good and 'bad' dogs in ALL breeds. Unfortunately, our experiences (especially when we're young) taint us for life.
...Collies, like Goldens, can be sweet and devoted.
Thanks for sharing..