February 25, 2007


Yesterday, I met my dog while walking home. It was rainy and cold. I had been out of town for work on Friday. On Saturday I took the university vehicle back up to Transportation Services, which is just north of campus. I walked back over the new viaduct, south down 16th Street, and across city campus, a good mile or more. I still had a ways to go, but my nose was running, so I stopped in at the little drive through coffee shop on the corner of 16th and O Streets. They make the best mochas in town. There a fluffy white creature greeted me at the door.

She was a friendly labradoodle belonging to the girl working behind the counter. She was three months old and named Bernadette, or Bernie. She looked so like my Jordan, with the same build and the same soft coat and expressive face. More than that, she had the temperament. She was calm, especially for a puppy, but alert, friendly, and inquisitive. She didn’t jump or bark, just watched everyone with wise eyes and smiled her mustached smile.

My Jordan, a schnoodle, died on April 27, 2006. He was a funny grey old man, ever since the day he was born. Never excitable, but always watching, he saw me grow from a gangly eleven year old to the person I am today. He had the body of his standard poodle parent, but the size of a standard schnauzer, the intelligence of the poodle and the stoicism of the schnauzer. I cannot overestimate the impact he had on my life nor the love I still have for him. His last years were not as glad as I would have wanted for him, plagued by arthritis and a creeping alzheimers before his death.

I saw him in Bernadette. She looked at me as if to tell me it was all right, to say she is young and healthy and happy with her new people. It may be wishful thinking brought on by nostalgia, but it made me feel infinitely better on that cold rainy day. Bernadette is just a puppy, and will soon grow to twice the size of my Jordan, into a beautify fluffy white monster. I wish her all the best. I hardly noticed the rain on the remainder of my walk.

Nothing can ever make me feel better than a grinning dog.

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