Being Owned by a Dog (Golden Retriever) ...

With all ideas for household chores or carnal adventures exhausted for the day, the wife suggested we pack up Cookie in the truck and head to the Saturday Walking Street in Chiang Rai.  Feeling a slight chill in the air we dressed in long sleeves only to find things a few degrees warmer in the city.  Sleeves were only comfortable when we once again neared home later in the evening.

As it was just the three of us, Cookie was not banished to the back of the truck but happily sprawled on the floor, with the backseat up and out of the way.  The only thing that got a consistent rise out of her, was the sound of the turn signal.  That sound seems to trigger something in her mind, so she was up and checking out whether we had arrived, I suppose.

Being a free spirit and only put on a leash for control or restraint, she takes the leash as an invitation to advance and propel my forward motion.  Forty kilos in four wheel drive can produce a tremendous amount of torque, I assure you.  Finding herself in an unfamiliar and somewhat constrained walking environment she actually performed quite well and refrained for jerking my arm out of the socket.

At home visitors are often treated as puppies or chew toys as she wreathes in joy and bashes the furniture with her tail.  Surrounded by vendors and ambling shoppers she took on a whole new demeanor, as she ignored all those around her.  Most people seemed to ignore her as well.  Of course, there were those who stepped aside while pressing their arms to their sides or raising their hands to their chest.  Children were admonished by anxious parents who sought to teach them to fear all animals, I suppose.  Many not looking down, seemed to have no idea she was even there.

There was one amorous street dog who was briefly smitten by Cookies charms, but most of the four legged friends we met, belonged to vendors and resembled more the pocket or handbag varieties.  True dog lovers, some released their diminutive charges to share a proper doggy greeting and sniff.  We bumped into a couple we know, who said they really only recognized us from a distance because of Cookie.  I guess you know you have arrived when people see you as an extension of the dog, instead of the other way around.

A couple hours of roaming around and all our purchases made, it was turning quite dark and we still had a long drive home.  Opening the back door, Cookie eagerly leapt to the comfort and familiarity of her place on the floor, happy to enjoy a quiet, uneventful ride home. 

I can hear a cynic out there saying, “It’s only a dog.”  Well, for you that might be true, but for us she is an integral part of our lives.  She fills the void with love, charm, humor and constant companionship.  You don’t know what you’re missing, until you are owned by a dog.