As much as I love my cats, I love this dog. His name is Jonah, and he lives with his people across the street from my house. OK, his people are my friends, but the dog—oh, the dog. When Jonah is nosing around his yard, and I am standing out in mine, we can have a conversation. I yell across the street to him, and he wags his tail with great expectation. "Maybe she'll come over here and pat my head and tell me what a good boy I am," is what he's saying. They say that even when he's inside his house and he sees me through the window, he wags his tail with the same expectation. And when they say, "Hey Jonah, Scout's coming over," he wags and barks and wags and barks.
They may be padding the truth there, but I don't mind. Jonah has peed on my mailbox, thrown up on my patio, chewed a hole through my sleeve in a playful tussle. I've adopted this big chocolate lab the size of a small horse as my foster dog.
When he was younger, Jonah would sit at the top of his driveway, which is a steep hill, and let golf balls and tennis balls roll down the driveway. He'd watch them cross the street and land in my yard, and he'd wait for me to throw them back. He'd snatch them in his mouth, set them on the cement and watch them roll again. If no one was home on this side of the street, he'd just watch the balls roll with no return, and at the end of the day, we'd have a playground full stacked up in the grass. Now that he has a gray beard and arthritis, he doesn't play with balls quite as much, and I miss finding a collection of them in my yard.
My neighbors are out of town to visit their daughter, so I am on Jonah duty for part of this week. I go over there in the mornings to let him out—all I have to say is, "Go potty in the woods," and he does his business. I give him breakfast, rub his ears, and if there's time, sit on the couch with him for a little chat. I go back in the afternoon and then again at night. And with each visit, he lumbers down the stairs, afraid he'll slip on the polished wood, shakes off his sleep, and mumbles some Scooby-do-style dog talk before stepping out to "go potty in the woods."
Yep, I love this dog. And I confess, as much as I like my neighbors and appreciate their great friendship, I wouldn't mind if they went out of a town a little more often so I could have Jonah duty again.