Let Me Get Up to Greet You

by Tom Swift

This time of the year in Minnesota you do not expect to encounter creatures who are not on the move. Squirrels scurry. Dogs follow their leaders.[1] The few birds who stick for the season do not often sit on the sidewalk as you pass. During this morning’s stroll through the neighborhood, however, it was me, not the little buddy, who stopped us our tracks.[2] There, on the ground against the back step of a detached garage, sat a husky. Torso on the pavement, she sat surveying the world, regarding us but otherwise still. I squeezed my frozen fingers beneath my mittens; this dog was as comfortable as a girl on the beach on an eighty-degree day. I greeted her with the high-pitched voice that comes out for canines.[3] She wagged her tail, she perked her nose a bit, but otherwise did not move. After I had kept us for a long moment, she eventually ambled her thick, deliberate body over, to where we stood on the other side of a chain link. This was not a young dog. Neither is my little buddy. I offered my hand for her to sniff. The two dogs touched noses between the fence. Overhead a squirrel squawked from the top end of a telephone pole.

 

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[1] Usually, it is the other way around; he almost always knows exactly where he’s sniffing next, regardless of the pace I have in mind.

[2] A half block back I had thought about how great it will be in the spring, in the summer, when we can lie outside. Even at night, then, life will be so delicious, I imagined.

[3] My dog must think when I talk to him that I am pretending to impersonate Mickey Mouse.