I have not had a good day. In fact, it's been downright unpleasant. So I did what comes naturally at such times: I pouted and took a nice long nap, but upon waking discovered that the day was just as crappy as it had been before I laid down. I snacked and cleaned and did laundry, listening to music loudly––almost obnoxiously so––but nothing seemed to make me feel better. The only things keeping my sane today were Ken's patience and general good nature, and Duncan's unconditional love, the way he rests his chin on my foot even during my ugliest moods.
So I decided to take him to Hero's in the hopes that his excitement and joy would rub off on me. From the moment we walked in the door we were greeted by happy, smiling faces, and people who love Dunc almost as much as I do. They tossed cookies and treats at him, rubbed his belly, went through his entire repertoire of tricks, gave me big hugs and a shoulder rub, and a whole bag of free kitty food. In short, they did nothing out of the ordinary, because they always make us feel good when we go there.
It wasn't until a little boy and his nanny walked in, though, that I felt my mood begin to lighten. Dunc normally runs around the store off-leash, greeting each customer at the door when they enter, merrily following them around in the hopes of earning another treat, smiling and wagging his tail in that way that I love so much. He did the same for the new customers until the nanny informed us that her companion, small and blond and no more than four years old, was afraid of large dogs and was a bit nervous by Duncan's attention. So I set Roo down in front of him, asked him to give me a high-five and then ten––two of his favorite tricks––and then asked the boy if he wanted to give Roo a high-five. I handed him a treat, a big, fat, golden pumpkin cruncher, and taught him how to give the command. Dunc waited patiently until the boy stepped forward and bravely held up his hand. Dunc immediately gave him a nice, gentle high-five, then leaned in close, licked him sloppily on the face and took the treat when it was offered. The boy giggled and clapped and threw his arms around Dunc in a brief hug.
It was at that moment that my foul mood broke and the world seemed a pleasant place once again. Dunc came to me, nuzzled his head against my leg like Pip and Olive do when they're hungry and have decided I'm late delivering their dinner, and thumped his tail against the floor. I scritched his ears and thanked him, and the smile on his face seemed to say, "See, I'm still here. I've got your back. Always."
Bless my dog, my amazing, wonderful best friend.