A Boy and His Dog

He wanted a dog. The feeling welled up when his bare feet walked across the taunting wet grass. It tickled when he sat on the sofa and imagined a panting, slobbering friend at his feet. It called to him when he lay on his bed and closed his eyes and imagined playing catch with an energetic bundle of muscle and fir. The boy wanted a dog.

Oh, and Luc wanted one, too.

It’s been nearly eight years since our family owned a dog. Dogs need attention and space, and we had little of either in recent years. When we moved to our new house last spring, the first thing Luc asked for was a dog. Jeanette told him that it might happen in the future, but for the moment “we’ve had enough life change.” Secretly, in the back of my head, I thought, “hmm, a doooog!”

We’re settled in our home now, and the yearning for a canine of our own only grew. I call it my dog call. It’s a cosmic, boy-loves-dog hankering that just won’t go away, whispering in my head, “wouldn’t a dog be nice about now?”

A few months ago, I started planting a seed. I’d hint my ambition to Jeanette. I’d browse breeder sites and call her over. “Isn’t this a beautiful dog?” I’d ask. At first, she’d pat me on the back and go back to her magazine. But gradually she came around. I’d walk into the family room and find her researching breeds … even taking notes.

And Luc, contrary to character, had patience. He didn’t nag. He didn’t beg. He played his own game of subtle hints. We’d watch him with other people’s dogs and note how well he behaved with them. His smile was different when he was with a dog. Deep inside, I saw myself.

Yesterday, our new dog came home. His name is Jed. He’s an adult cattle dog. Our cats aren’t very pleased, but the rest of the family is giddy. We opted for an adult dog because between chemo schedules for Jordan and the active lifestyle that is a family of four, we thought puppy training might be over-doing it. Some of our friends thought we were crazy to adopt a working dog, but I grew up with the breed and we have friends who are cattle dog enthusiasts. It just seemed right, from the moment we first met him three weeks ago.

I take a walk every morning, hiking the hills around our house. It’s my favorite time of the day. The sun peaks out about 6am, revealing the valley below. The air is calm, and neighbors are friendly. There’s a touch of Wisteria Lane, but it’s quite satisfying. This morning, it was even more so. Jed walked calmly by my side for nearly an hour. By the time I was home, Luc had risen early. After a quick breakfast, I watched him work the dog in the backyard, playing fetch. Though Jed belongs to the family, I can’t help but think us two boys are on this new journey together – two boys and a dog.