The comfort of dogs

It was mani/pedi day at the local Vietnamese-based nail salon where, apart from one enthralling quirk, there were all the customary processes and hardware (including the predictable battle to hear and understand what was being whispered or mumbled by the staff). What distinguished my visit today to the salon located in the mall adjacent Publix was the presence of a small fluffy dog quietly ambling about the salon. At times the tiny creature materialized beneath the chairs of the salon clients or the manicurists. Its variable course was impossible to follow or predict because it was constantly evaporating beneath the larger desks and chairs. Its movement seemed to be ceaseless and purposeless, betraying no doubt its long-standing acquaintance (and possible ennui) with the environment. No one, either staff or clientele, held any sway with the animal. It had an unquestionable paramountcy in the establishment.

While I didn’t see anyone paying particular attention to the little dog (a manicure and pedicure salon is not conducive to wooing and petty pets) I have no hesitation saying that the dog hadn’t gone unnoticed and that its presence was a comforting additive to the otherwise busy and noisy salon. It was as well a welcome distraction upon the quick exhaustion of the usual casual morning conversation about the weather and one’s health.

Years ago when I introduced my new French bulldog Monroe (as a puppy) to my late father and asked him what he thought, his curt reply was, “Take it back”. It was at the time an unwelcome comment and a mandate I unhesitatingly ignored. Looking back however I acknowledge the strength of the assertion. At my age, in my current state of immobility, and suffering what I believe will be a continuing decline, the idea of having to maintain a dog is positively draining. Not to mention the associated travel adaptations.

Notwithstanding the limiting burden of maintenance of a dog there are many of us humans who continue to surmount the obstacles and who opt instead for the company and comfort of canine companionship. There are a lot of dogs here in the Upper Keys not the least of which are two next door and two thereafter. Coincidentally I have commensurately remarked upon the unfailing attraction of the animals. I repeatedly marvel at the devotion of the creatures and their capacity to accommodate even the most careless and empty-headed handlers with quiet dignity. The animals are a testament to the wonder of Nature.

It is not unnatural that most of the creatures here are small (in what I assume is a deference to the elderly owners who frequently travel); and, that the occasional larger ones are notably gentle and friendly (as commanded by the identical prescription in alternate methods of peregrination). This scenario is in contrast to northern friends of ours, Alana and Jay, who inhabit a country estate and who  thus have the privilege of offering to their pets (they recently acquired Roy shown in the photo above to accompany their French bulldog Louie) a virtually unrestricted area upon which to frolic and amuse themselves. Jay has excused his appetite for Roy (who is part Mastiff) as protective of Louie and their common domaine. It might indeed be a genuine concern since large country properties are known to attract sometimes aggressive animals like racoons and porcupines. If there happen to be deer upon the property I trust both Roy and Louie will be instructed accordingly. I might here add parenthetically that, when staying at a cottage at Green Lake, our erstwhile dog Monroe was easily trained to respond in a friendly manner to chipmunks which would venture close enough to eat peanuts off the toes of our shoes while we sat overlooking the water.