My boy, by my side

By Charles Wenzel
Special to The PREVIEW
My wife and I have five little dogs. We affectionately call them “wee ones.” You can probably guess why. (“Bad parenting, bad!”)
The final leg of our move from New Jersey to Colorado involved the seven of us driving in what turned out to be a Subaru clown car — for four days and three nights — which reminds me of a scripture: “There’s a way which seems right unto a man, but the end therefore …” not so much.
A circus makes its pretzels at night. Our clown car did the same to us. And by the time we arrived at our home in Colorado, we’d not only had our fill of “pretzels,” but could barely stomach each other.
But we did get to know one another intimately. We learned two of the pooches — Rex and Sherman — are my wife’s dogs. And Chester, Morgan and Duncan are obedient to me.
They’re “my boys,” even though Morgan’s a girl. Of course, she doesn’t know the language, so we just go with it.
Like those with each of my now-grown daughters, my relationships with each of my dogs are different. I love them all without distinction. In that sense, I don’t — I can’t — play favorites. However, everyone, including my two daughters, is their own “person” with their unique personality. And just as some of “my girl’s” actions please me more than others, so, too, do those of “my boys.”
I love them for who they are. If I could change them, I wouldn’t, for then they wouldn’t be the ones I love.
Chester, a Westie, is white like a lamb and as innocent as one. If a car door opens, he’ll climb in.
Morgan, a shih tzu, is dopey and funny. She looks and plays the part. And somewhere in her family tree is a cat. She’s as independent as a donkey can be stubborn.
Duncan, her brother, is a shih tzu/Westie mix, with none of the cat. Though he moves with the speed and grace of a cheetah, is super intelligent and overall, just “cool.” If he were a boy in high school, he’d be the quarterback the girls swoon over. His saving grace is he doesn’t know it. Which would really make him “hot.”
Since our move from the confines of New Jersey to Colorado’s expanse, a new logistics had to be worked out. Though they could hear my voice, from a distance they hadn’t yet learned to heed it.
After the day they all ran off (I was busy and thought they were still beside me) we had ourselves a talk. A dose of tough love communicated through my sore displeasure, though without anger.
Though Chester and Morgan no longer wander off, they still tend to lag behind, wandering about. However, when I first looked around, saw the other two and not Duncan, I yelled out his name, assuming he’d “played me” again. He immediately jumped up on me — to be even closer. I realized he’d not left my side, and doesn’t.
Thankfully, the innocent look on his face wasn’t tinged with fear, but is as if to say, “I’m right here. I want to please you. I love you, too.”
I call to Chester and Morgan and they eventually come to me. But I don’t yell for Duncan, nor need call out his name. I look by my side, smile and tell him, “Good boy, Duncan, good boy.”

This story was posted on March 22, 2018.