It’s grooming day for Dilly. I drop her off on my way to yoga and I will pick her up after. The place I take her is in a strip mall on 1431; difficult to get into and so I go the longer back way in order to avoid getting stressed.
Gossip has it that the guy who greets us from behind the counter was once a female, an unexpected alteration for someone in simple Marble Falls. He’s friendly and always happy to see Dilly. The bothersome thing about him, though, is that when he takes Dilly into his arms and she starts licking at his face, he licks her back. Tongue to tongue.
I like dogs and I’d be the first to tell you that my dog is the most wonderful of all the dogs in the world, but a dog’s tongue goes to places I want nothing to do with. I draw the line at a saliva exchange and I think other people should too.
After yoga I stop by the post office to submit three copies of Why Stuff Matters to the TCU Texas Book Awards. Every time I send my books off it’s with hope in my heart. Winning any kind of recognition is unlikely, but I’m satisfied that three new people will soon enjoy my work. Though it’s immodest to say, it’s difficult to dislike my style, though one critic was quite traumatized by the notion of geriatric crooks and murderers; but I could tell from her tone that she idealizes old folks, which is her problem, not mine. Also, only a person with no sense of humor doesn’t recognize comedy when it’s right there on the page.
Speaking of traumatized. The groomer also operates a doggy day care and Dilly, freshly trimmed and shampooed, is in the middle of six dogs that are way bigger than she is. When the guy plucks her from the pack and flies her to my arms she goes limp with relief. Then she tries to lick my face.
“We don’t do that,” I tell her.
Fearing that she’s picking up bad habits from the guy and from all the uncontrolled dogs, I pay and get her out of there. Into the back seat she goes.
“Did you have a good morning?” I ask, meeting her eyes in the rearview mirror. “You look great.”
In response she wiggles all over, joyous at once again being with me. See, this is why it’s good to have a dog. Not only does she love me unconditionally, but with her it’s all about me. While people expect me to show an interest in their lives, all Dilly’s interested in is where I am and what I’m doing. There’s not a self-absorbed bone in her body.
When we get home she goes straight to her bed and sleeps for three hours. Poor thing. Getting groomed and then playing with many exuberant dogs has exhausted her.
After her nap she comes to find me. In front of my computer is the first place she always looks. I pick her up and set her in my lap. She leans into me and gazes adoringly up my nose. She’s a cuddler. They say that the way a dog communicates its love for its owner is by locking eyes, which under ordinary circumstances isn’t comfortable for a dog. Dilly meets my eyes all the time. She meets everybody’s eyes. She loves everyone. She’d give her heart away a hundred times a day if she could find enough people to take it. This little girl needs someone to protect her from herself and that’s why she has me.
“You’re so spoiled,” I tell her.
She sighs and I take her off to the kitchen for a treat.