Lucie is a simple creature. People are always talking about how smart their dog is, how great an instinct for hunting it has, what great championship lines he claims, how obedient she is, what a great protector she is...
My dog has none of these things.
She is not gifted with great intelligence. She looks blankly at me when I give her a command. And it is not defiance. She simply does not understand. She cocks her head to the side, trying to figure it all out. And then happily goes back to what she was doing.
She is no mighty hunter. She is very excited about chasing dust motes and sunbeams. She will spend hours jabbing her snout at a sunbeam in the house, and get very excited when her ID tags sparkle in the light. She will chase a laser until she drops from exhaustion, and there is little that gives her more joy than going into the back yard and looking for worms. But she has not a single idea of what tracking is, or even what to do when she sees a squirrel.
But the moment you spray water from the garden hose, especially when the sun is shining, and the kaleidoscope of the crystal sparkles everywhere, that is the thing that just sends her into ecstasy. Nothing gives her greater pleasure than the hose. She hunts droplets, flashing in the sun, with all of the fire and passion that most of us reserve for football games. At the end of any hose romp, she returns, exhausted and muddy and with the waggiest tail you can imagine, thumping tail so hard against the furniture that she risks injury.
Lucie, watching the hose from inside.
Lucie has no papers. She was one dog of many that a friend had in a couple of litters that her dachshunds had. There is no championship line there.
There is also no urge to protect. She will sound the alarm, and she is brave (even when the vacuum monster comes out). But she does not seem to sound the alarm to any purpose. It is just an alarm. And when it is done, she goes back to doing what she was doing before she barked. Which usually involves chasing sunlight, somewhere in the house.
Lucie is none of the things that you brag on your dog about.
What she is, however, is happy. Joyful. Loving. Sweet. Gentle.
I go through my life with complicated interactions. I am pretty good about not taking it personally, and very rarely hold grudges. But there is complicated math going on any time there is a favor requested or performed. Shifting allegiances as work that needs to be done competes with personal relationships. Temporary alliances where I hold my nose and work with someone who angered me last week.
But my dog does none of that. She loves you. She loves me. She loves Kathe. She loves visitors. She loves the postman. She takes joy in being fed. She loves being petted, but only for a minute, because she has important work to do, chasing and killing those light sparkles, over and over again.
Tail wagging like mad.
Paul Simon wrote a song called 'One Trick Pony' (the album was immortalized in Douglas Adams' Restaurant at the End of the Universe credits), and the lyrics from the song are the best part of the album:
He makes it look so easy
He looks so clean
He moves like God’s
He makes me think about
All of these extra moves I make
And all this herky-jerky motion
And the bag of tricks it takes
To get me through my working day
Lucie is that one-trick pony. Tail wagging like mad. Compulsively licking the hand of whoever is holding her. Loving with everything she has.
And then jumping back down in search of the sparkle.
I think I'll find my sparkle tomorrow. ....Or maybe I'll decide to find it tonight.