Friday, January 1, 2010

Odysseus and Penelope

There was grumbling a plenty in my household this morning.

"What about me?" Penelope growled, as she leaped onto me and began licking my nose.

"And me,too. C'mon, Dad." Odysseus's eyes are two sweet dew drops.

These dogs greeted me as they do each morning, with a frenzy that belies the fact that I put them to bed only the night before, with kisses and pats on the head. Every morning is Christmas morning in our household. And I am the prize gift to the two border collies we call Ody and Penny.

"You didn't tell everyone you were thankful for me," Penny said. "You know, I read your blog last night."

"You can't read, Penelope," I said.

"I'm a border collie. I can do anything," she was defiant in a sweet sort of way. Test me, she seemed to say. She's already informed me that she intends to go to Yale, and then to medical school, following in the footsteps of our youngest human child.

"Yeah, Dad." Ody said. "You hurt both of our feelings."

Well, I cannot explain the oversight. The fact is that Ody and Penny, five-year-old litter mates, have won both my wife's and my hearts completely. They've been with us since just after their birth. They've trained us. The first year, we were stunned: All that energy. And then we started to fall into their rhythm. There are paths worn in some of our fields were the dogs run just so. We have "patting time" each morning. At dinner, Penny sits by my side waiting for me to put down my fork and push my chair back, a signal that its time for her to leap onto my lap, flip on to her back, and place her head beneath my chin for a tummy rub. And Ody know just how to dally in the moments before they go to bed to get an extra dose of loving from me. The dogs are perfect companions, and I cannot imagine life without them. We even go to a special dog camp with them each summer to learn more about dogs, Glen Highland Farms.

So let me add to the list of things for which I am thankful my dogs.

Are you happy now Penny?

I see she is not. She's got a ball in her mouth, and Ody keeps looking toward the door. I think they are trying to tell me something. As always with these two, it is good for the soul for me to make the effort to listen ...