Monday, June 30, 2008

Angel in a Fur Coat


"Glad-eyes," that's what he has, Molson, this friend of mine with golden hair and lolling tongue.
We run from the house into the evening air, his nails tap-tap-tap-tapping lightly on the pavement as my feet thud-thud beside him.
He dances with exuberant joy at being "out." Jumping high, he catches his red leash in his mouth and tugs me along; pulling it as if he is playing a joke, pretending that it is he taking me for the walk, which is probably true. He is so HAPPY and he communicates that with every fibre of his being and glance of his glad eyes.
The first rush of excitement settles and he trots forward with focus, pacing his trot perfectly to my stride. He is a gentleman of a dog, disciplined and well bred.
He reads the ground with his nose, as avidly as my father used to read the newspaper, and leaves messages behind for others who will follow. He looks as if he is about very serious business. I don't hurry him; it seems a small thing to wait when he is such good company.
Ah, these walks!
Friday evening the village is a-buzz with lawnmowers. It seems that people are getting a head start on the weekend chores. I inhale the scent of freshly mown grass.
On Saturday the sound of backyard fun fills the air, as if, with the chores done, it is time to enjoy the weekend. From behind hedges and fences come the sound of children's voices, laughter, and the splash of water in backyard pools. The appetizing smell of a barbecue tantalizes my nose.
Sunday night we walk under a rosy sky as God slowly pulls the blanket of the evening over the village. We pass a house with the garage lit up and the front door open. Lawn chairs sit deserted outside and from a stereo inside the garage comes the mournful, wailing sound of a country song. As we pass, the music gradually fades from our ears.
Along the way, I catch the scent of blossom from a nearby tree. I walk closer and stop to sniff the source. It is Molson's turn to wait patiently. If he wonders what I can find to smell on a tree when all the good smells are on the ground, he doesn't show it. He knows the first rule of friendship; acceptance.
Blue sky and fluffy salmon pink clouds are fading quickly into dusk.We run and I hear his tags jingling and his ears thudding he shakes his head.
I shout, "Hi" to a neighbour.
"Can I see your dog?" he asks, walking towards us past a lawn sprinkler.
"He's the best dog in the world," I say, "not a mean bone in his body."
"I had a Golden myself," he says, "he got old and we had to put him down just three months ago. His name was Gatsby."
"I'm so sorry-- but what a perfect name."
He is squatting beside Molson now and Molson is sitting while he pets him. He fingers his tag with the St. John's Ambulance cross.
"He's a therapy dog," I explain, "he visits seniors now. He's working his way up to visiting group homes. "
"Ah, they will love him," he says.
I say goodbye and walk on. The air carries the fragrant scent of wood -smoke from a backyard bonfire. Firecrackers go off intermittently; it is the eve of Canada Day. Molson doesn't react—he's so not high strung.
His cold, wet nose and mouth rub my hand in a sign of love. As we walk on, fireflies flash in the ditches.
I think of Gatsby, and Eric, my friend Dave's dog, and Irene's Henry, who were such faithful friends to them while they lived; and Molson, who is still fulfilling his assignment to love his people unconditionally. And I wonder if maybe dogs earn wings like Clarence the angel in the movie, It's a Wonderful Life.
I see a lot of God in dogs: Faithfulness, unconditional love and quick forgiveness.
I am so grateful for our four-legged angel, in a fur coat.

12 comments:

Angcat said...

I love it Belinda. I was with you every step, smelling, listening, enjoying. I loved the glance of Molson's glad eyes.
This was a completely sensory post and beautifully written!
I loved how God pulled the blanket of evening over the village.
Wow! I feel so refreshed from this time together.
Thank you.
:-)

Belinda said...

Dear Ang,
Thank you for that wonderful affirmation. I'm so glad you came out into the fresh air and enjoyed the experience through my nose, ears and eyes!

Angcat said...

Welll, it wasn't only YOUR nose...

:-)

Dave Hingsburger said...

OK, so, you made me cry. Caught unexpected by Eric's name - though it was right where it should have been. In a list of furry angels. Thanks so much for this.

Belinda said...

Tears falling in tribute to the best of friends and a pause to the remember someone I know you never forget. It seems like a good thing.

I never met Eric, sadly, but I know him through your writing. He was one of the best!

Susan said...

Yeah, Dave,

Is there a book in you about Eric? I think that would be a fine thing...

Anonymous said...

Dogs bring a wonderful message to our lives. Did anyone take time to spell dog backwards?!!
M

Belinda said...

Hey Susan,
There is indeed a book about Eric; I gave it to my grandchildren. It is called, Four Feet Tall!

Today I read Psalm 36 (vs.6&7)
...O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. How pricless is your unfailing love!...

Belinda said...

Yes, M, dog spelled backwards--I have something on my computer that someone wrote about that very thing. I'll search for it and if I can find it I'll post it. I did, and it's done!

Susan said...

A dog about Eric?

You've been holding out on me...

Brave Raven said...

My dog is definitely an angel. I actually look into her eyes and tell her that! She dispenses love extravagantly and never cares who might see her. She never holds back. She is a better "person" than I am.

Belinda said...

I love the way dogs don't "hold back." There is no measure or calculation; their hearts are out there on a platter. I wish we dared to be more like that.