KINDRED SPIRITS

The Button Box

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By the time I was walking my Mom was afraid to take me anywhere and let me walk alone, she always had a tight hold on me. At a very early age I was in love with all dogs. Large dogs that were so big I had to look up at them or small ones that I had to get down on the ground to play with.

If we met a dog on the sidewalk I would go right up to it and pat it on the head and then give it a big hug around the neck and a kiss. They all seemed like old friends to me even if I had never seen them before.

When I was 2 my brown cocker Brownie decided to move in with us. He was very determined and would not take no for an answer. Brownie was the only one that ever bit me on purpose and that was my fault because I wouldn’t learn the lessons he was trying to teach.

Brownie had the short stubby tail of a Cocker and did not tolerate anyone touching it. I tried several times and he could spin and nip my hand before I could move it, but it took about three times before I learned my lesson.

The other lesson he tried, not so patiently, to teach me was to not blow in his face. I would try to sneak it in and he always got me on the nose before I could react. I’ve never understood why most dogs will not tolerate that but love to hang out the vehicle window and let the wind blow up their nose. What the difference is I do not know.

Through my childhood years, I made friends with thousands of dogs and was never bitten by a single dog. For some reason they seemed to know that I loved them and only wanted to make friends. This coming together of kindred spirits has continued through my life. I have never met a dog I couldn’t make friends with.

When I worked at Northgate Salon I had an older customer that came once a month for a haircut and her husband would get his hair cut next door at the barber shop at the same time. I knew they traveled a lot and were well set for retirement, but I kept noticing that they always drove this beat up old pickup from the 60’s when they came to the shop.

One day I asked her about the old truck sitting out front and she said it belong to her husband’s hunting dog. Yes, it was the dog’s truck. We will call him Sam, because I can’t remember his name. She said it was the only vehicle he was allowed in and that they always brought it when he came with them.

I told her I wanted to go out and see him and she warned me not to do that because he took his ownership of the truck very seriously. She warned me that he might bite if I opened the door or walked up to the open window. I told her he would not bite me and headed toward the door.

She followed me to the door and stopped there to watch, not wanting to get into the fight if he attacked, I’m sure. He was sitting proudly behind the steering wheel watching for the two of them, not knowing which door to watch. He was looking back and forth between the barber shop door and the beauty shop door.

I walked up to the passenger side and opened the door with a jerk. It squealed and complained loudly with the motion. I stepped up against the running board and said in a firm voice, “Sam, get over here so I can pet you!” He paused only a moment and then jumped up and crossed the seat in a single bound, then placed his chin on my left shoulder.

His long tail was beating against the dash and the back window the whole time. I petted him for several minutes and then told him to sit and he complied immediately. He continued to want me to pet him; nudging me every time I quit stroking his head.
When I closed the door of the old pickup and turned around to go back to the salon I could see his female master standing in the door of the salon. She looked like she was about to faint.

I walked from the truck to the Barber shop and opened the door and asked who owned the old truck and the dog out front. The owner said it was his and I said I wanted to meet the dog. He said don’t do that because the dog won’t let anyone touch the truck. I just laughed and said, “Too late! I have already made friends with him.

From that day on every time they came to the salon he would sit in the truck and bark until I could go out and pet him. One day I had to go across the street to the bank to get some change. The parking places by the sidewalk were all full and I didn’t pay much attention to any of the vehicles as I walked into the bank. But while I was in the bank I could hear a dog barking very insistently.

When I left the bank I looked to the east and there was the old pickup and Sam was leaning out the window barking as loudly as he could. He was about to beat his master to death with his tail. When I got to the truck the man said that he had started to bark the minute he saw me go into the bank.

There was another large black dog that always came with his master, but he always rode in the back of his pickup. He always waited patiently for his owner to return from the barber shop. One day I couldn’t stand it any longer and went out and petted him. He leaned over the edge to get as much attention as he could.

After petting him I stepped into the barber shop to see who owned that magnificent dog and a man in the chair said he was his. He then warned me not to go near the truck because he would bite. I said, “Too late, we are already friends, I was just out there and petted him.” He couldn’t believe I was able to make friends with his dog.

I don’t know why some of us are this way with animals and in particular with dogs. Maybe we were dogs in another life, who knows, but for some reason I am a kindred spirit with all dogs. To contact Sandy: [email protected]

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