People Out Loud: Meet Henry…. Despite best efforts – I’m just his second best friend

September 2022 Posted in Opinion / Columnists

Dixon Bledsoe

He loves unconditionally. He grazes incessantly. What is his is his, and what is yours is his. He can eat a full meal yet want your tuna sandwich immediately after scarfing down a bowl of yummy food. When he puts his head on your knee, crushing the sports page you are about to dive into, it warms your heart because his eyes scream, “I love you and you are my person.”

His memory is short. You feed him in the morning, take him to the park to play with his pals, and come home from work to rest and relax. For a moment, he does not recognize you. He lets them know that strangers are not welcome here and in a very loud voice. Then, he remembers. “Oh, yeah. There is my guy (‘or gal). He loves children, although his 10-month-old tail has been known to take out large trees and small humans, purely out of the aforementioned “love.”  He has a good “chewer” and an affinity for “readers”, those glasses he finds scattered around the house. He also likes the sports page. Not for content but for “sport”. Many parts are edible.

I am “his person”. Until my wife walks in. Then I become “chopped liver” and of absolutely no use to him. She is his queen, and he worships her. I am a mere minion. When she leaves for work, he is devastated to learn that a school full of young learners might love his company but there is no classroom for him there. She is gone. Damn. Back to the old guy playing second fiddle.

Henry, aka “Big Dog” or “Moose” is a Golden Doodle/SheepaDoodle chocolate bundle of energy and joy. He was born in December and put on seventeen pounds between April and the end of May. He now weighs in at a sleek sixty pounds. He is one smart dog. He shakes, sits, and rings the bell when he wants to use his outdoor lavatory. He gets a treat for doing so. Now he rings the bell and waits for the treat, not stepping a foot outside. Henry looks at me in disbelief. “Treat? Duh!” He runs to the front window and barks at passersby. I yell “treat” and he comes back to me, expecting a morsel. I admonish him and state “You don’t get a treat for barking at the neighbors, dude.” He looks at me with impassioned big eyes, expecting me to fold like a cheap suit. It does not work.

Our late-night walks are both invigorating and challenging. He pulls like a plough horse working for Budweiser. If he sees another dog walking its person, and you are not paying attention (I use the app on my phone that identifies stars, planets, and constellations), you may lose an arm or place a late-night call to your Chiropractor. He sniffs everything, He stops everywhere, defeating the concept that this is a walk, thus exercise.

He is adorable. Sweet face, great demeanor, loves everyone, and never met another dog he did not like. The dog park that is a Silverton gem is his favorite place in the world after his spot next to my wife on the couch, where he pats his head with her hand and his massive body with her foot. The park is full of Buddy’s, Shiloh’s, Candys, and Maslow’s. They have a love/hate/indifference relationship with Henry. He thinks they are his BFF’s. He has never growled, he plays submissive if a little dog wants to rule the roost, and lopes like a giraffe when they play keep away with one lonely stick. Their “people” are wonderful, too. I have met some genuinely nice, interesting people there. All have a deep love for their canine companions.

Truth be told – I love this dog. So does my wife, who is not your typical dog person. My favorite time is driving to Starbucks or Dutch Bros. in my little convertible enroute to the dog park. I get a coffee drink, and Henry gets a “Pup Cup” – whipped cream and a dog biscuit. His head often rises above the windshield, but I love putting his head cupped in my arm and tell him, “Good Dog, Karl” after the beloved children’s book of the same name. His gaze says, “Uh. It is Henry, old man, but thanks for the Pup Cup.”

 

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