In dog-years Pooh is somewhere between 28 and 35 but his behavior is that
of an energetic puppy. He rarely walks if running is feasible. He
explodes into every space he occupies. Every activity is his ebullent
favorite activity until the next one comes along (Thank you for giving me
that image). If he had a tail it would cause a breeze throughout the house.
Yesterday morning he caused us much concern. Over the weekend Shirley and
I had been laid low by a bug of some sort (the Iron Woman even missed a day
at the office!) and I wondered at first if Pooh had contracted whatever it
was that had nailed us so badly.
Everything about his deportment had been normal until I let him out in the
morning. He and his wagging butt had jumped on the bed to make sure I was
up, to lay some new puppy secrets on me, and then as always he tried
unsuccessfully to contain his energy while I took my pills and made my coffee.
Turning inside-out as if he didn’t know the routine yet we finally went
downstairs and I opened the door for him to do his flying exit. Then I sat
down at the desk and waited for conciousness to arrive.
Half an hour or so later I let in…who? It looked like Pooh but he was
moping and dragging. No tail wagging, no jumping on the muddyfeet hassock,
no eye contact, just a fuzzy puppy with head hung low, seemingly forcing
one foot in front of the other to get from A to Z.
I checked to see if he had been injured, if he had a temperature, if there
was some foreign object/prey stuck in his mouth. Nothing. But for the
next several hours – most of the day – he just lay on my lap or next to my
leg, staring out into nothingness. He didn’t even respond to belly scratches.
I was very worried and called Shirley. A trip to his vet seemed like a
genuine possibility. Then he came out of it. The old Pooh was back.
There can be only one explanation. By nature, Pooh has a very sunny
outlook on life. That can’t be subdued but it can be supressed. "Every
dog has his day" can be a negative as well as a positive cliche.
Having a sunny disposition means always assuming the grand possibilities of
the world and the universe and in that regard Pooh has made it clear that
his water dish is always half-full rather than half-empty.
Yesterday, though, my puppy came face-to-face with the cosmos, at least the
furry parts of it, and it shook him to the foundations of his being. The
Truth that confronted him while he was out patrolling his domain prompted
most of a day to quietly reflect and accept. What can be more profound for
man or pooch than the realization that your world isn’t what you thought it
Chasing Mr. Squirrel, as an activity, has lost some of its glimmer. It may
be great fun, and it may be good exercise…but Pooh now understands that
he’s never, ever, going to catch the little bastard.
It’s a tribute to his strength of character that he didn’t let it get him
down for long, but nevertheless I feel his pain.