Wednesday, 6 October 2004

Man and dog

I find Jon Katz's columns on dogs for Slate profoundly wise, representing the even-tempered voice of a man trying to do right by his dogs and to understand the essential nature of dogs despite the frustration it can bring. (Check out this piece that encapsulates the value and difficulty of patience.) So I thought this extract from Katz's newly-released Dogs of Bedlam Farm, where he gives away Homer, his border collie, was particularly moving. Homer sounds like a little heartbreaker of a dog:
One spring evening a ewe broke off from the herd and ran into the woods—strange behavior. Homer followed her, and when I located them, a newborn lamb was nuzzling the startled Homer and the ewe had taken off to rejoin the flock. It took the better part of an hour to identify the proper ewe and bring her and her baby back into the barn for nursing and warmth. Meanwhile, the lamb had imprinted on Homer and tailed him for weeks. Homer looked unnerved but kept an eye on the little guy.
And this part captures really simply and really well the way dogs can embed themselves into your daily rituals and the joy that brings:
At 3:30 p.m. the bus pulled up to the corner across from our house and a gaggle of kids came thundering out. Homer waited and then went into his patented wriggle when Max disembarked; Max beamed and looked for Homer, knelt down to say hello, gave him a hug. Then Max and Homer would walk the half-block to his house.




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