Finding joy in the dogs days of summer
There are very few ways to get chills when it is over 90 degrees in the shade here in West Virginia, but I will tell you, it happened to me just the other day.
Minding my own business, as I was driving home, I made a right onto Turner Road, amazed by the sweltering humidity that was flying through my car. I drove about half way and saw a big brown dog with a cute smile, tongue hanging out, jogging along down the road. Normally I would assume it knew exactly where it was going, and this one probably did too, but for some reason I decided to look a little closer.
She seemed curious, caught my eye and seemed like she was hoping I would know her. She looked darn hot, so I pulled over and called for her to come over off the road and get a drink of water. Normally I don’t approach strange dogs, and I was a bit wary, but all of a sudden she just trotted right over and slobbered my arm as I put the bowl of water down for her. I checked for a name, but all I saw was a collar and a rabies tag. Slightly disappointed I tried to get her to drink again but she would have none of it. She just looked at me and slobbered on my leg.
At that very moment, an older fellow with white hair, glasses and a red checkered, classic country cotton plaid shirt driving a very vintage, slightly beat up old sky blue Ford pickup truck slowed down and asked me if anything was wrong. I said I did not want him to hit the dog and pointed at her. He asked if it was mine and I said no, I didn’t know who it belonged to.
He peered at her for a minute and said, “You know, that looks like it just might be Hali’s dog. You know Hali don’t ya?” I, of course said yes, and was thrilled that I had a lead. He waved, wish me luck and drove away, and you know something funny, I honestly don’t remember hearing any engine noise, or smelling any fumes from such an old truck. Hmm.
Anyway, I called the library, and reached Hali at once. I described the dog and mentioned the old fellow who knew her. We chatted about the various people and homes her dog would visit over the years, and we confirmed that it was hers, so I offered to take her back home since she seemed so hot and thirsty. She hopped into my car without a second thought, and waited patiently for her free taxi ride home.
Along the way as we talked, Hali mentioned an old couple that had died many years ago that lived near her home. She told me that the fellow used to drive a beat up old blue pick up truck and wore plaid shirts. “Could it be his son?” I asked. She did not know but we both thought it quite odd that this man happened to drive by in that exact instant, of all the people that were zooming around that road lately, and not only recognized the dog but knew the owner as well, and now that I think of it, really assumed I knew her too.
I dropped Doggie off at her house, and told her to stay put and be a good girl. She just looked at me with those big brown eyes for a few moments, and I could not decide if she was annoyed that I brought her back, or happy. She laid down in the shade and I waved goodbye.
The entire way home I could not stop thinking about that conversation with Hali, and you better believe me when I tell you most of the way home, even though the windows were down and the heat was blasting in my face, I had many, many chills.