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Monday, October 31, 2016

Hallohappiness

It was simple. A knock, knock, knock and the magic had begun.

Four years ago tonight, I was babysitting dog-sitting one of the friendliest dogs I have ever known. Bowie was a dog that never met a stranger. One of his favorite places to hang out or sleep was on "his sofa" in the living room. With his head resting on the arm of the sofa, he could watch the activity on his street in complete comfort. Without even looking toward the window, I could tell when someone was walking outside. Bowie would change his posture, getting ready in case he needed to greet a guest, whether human or canine. I often joked that while he wasn't a guard dog, he was certainly a watch dog, a dog that would watch a burglar enter the house and greet them eagerly. "Hey, the TV is right over here! And could you give me a scratch or two and some food, please? I'm starving!"

As I said, four years ago, I was with Bowie on what would end up being his last Halloween. Many dogs that I have known have found Halloween irritating because of the constant knocking and doorbell ringing and needing to determine whether their enemy-rousting services were required. For Bowie, it was completely the opposite. You see, for Bowie, anyone who came to the door was coming to visit him. 

On this wonderful Halloween evening, Bowie was snoozing away on his sofa when the first trick-or-treaters tapped on the front door. He got down from the sofa, tail slowly wagging, and with an inquisitive look on his face. When I opened the door he was thrilled. Kids! Giggling, happy, adorable kids! He scoped them all out while I distributed the candy, making certain to spare a few of each kind to nosh on the next few days. Hey, I was born in the morning, but not yesterday morning!

Bowie wagged all the way back to his sofa. When the next tap on the door sounded, his face looked both delighted and surprised. The human calendar may have said Halloween, but to Bowie it must have seemed like Christmas. More kids saying, "I like your dog!" And it kept happening! I can tell you without a doubt what was the highlight of the dog's evening. Four girls came to the door together and said that they liked the dog. And then they asked if they could pet him. Bowie was in dog heaven. He gleefully accepted pats on the head which he repaid with licks to every little-girl hand. Pure joy for one dog and four kids. What a wonderful thing to see!

As the evening went on and more and more kids showed up, Bowie started to get a bit tired. There were about seventy-five kids that showed up, which is a lot of exuberant greeting to do. The best host, I mean dog, can get tired from entertaining their numerous guests. After an hour or so, when the knocks sounded, Bowie looked at me to see if I needed him to greet the kids again. I had him come over to the door and he did so with his usual grace and friendliness. I was sitting at the kitchen table in between visitors. After all, it was Bowie's sofa. 

I was surprised and amused when Bowie walked into the kitchen and looked at me as if to say that he was exhausted. He went to his kennel and sprawled on his side. The next time someone knocked, he simply looked at me as if to say, "I'm too tired, MyKatrina. You're on your own." He had discovered that there was such a thing as too much company.



When Bowie's journey with the humans who loved him came to an end about six months later, I realized how fortunate I was to share his final Halloween. The kids who came by the house not only had candy, they had a greeter extraordinaire. And I was reminded that for a dog, the chance to kiss someone's hand could be the greatest Halloween treat of all. 

 


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