day 174: trick or treat

When I am not with the Boom, my thoughts often turn to her.

Dogs’ lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and the mistakes we make because of those illusions.
― Dean Koontz, The Darkest Evening of the Year

Sweet, dear pup.

I am trying to teach her to stop barking. She barks incessently at passerby, whether they be friend, foe, or stranger. With my new old table I study as she stands guard at the window. Yesterday, I said “quiet” once she barked, and gave her a piece of rabbit once she stopped, reinforcing, of course, with the “quiet” command.

No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish – consciously or unconsciously – that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.
― Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

Her training has not produced the desired result. By the end of the night, I realized that it was not at the window she barked, but at me. She would issue one sharp bark and sit expectantly as I said “quiet” and doled out the treat. Indeed it appears that I am the trainee!

The trick: she barks, I treat.

What a smart dog is she.

Dogs invite us not only to share their joy but also to live in the moment, where we are neither proceeding from nor moving toward, where the enchantment of the past and future cannot distract us, where a freedom from practical desire and a cessation of our usual ceaseless action allows us to recognize the truth of our existence, the reality of our world and purpose-if we dare.
― Dean Koontz, Brother Odd

The adventures of KT and boom continue “on the ‘morrow.”

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