LOVE CAN ALWAYS
USE A LITTLE SALAMI
I don't fall in love easily, but I'm pretty sure this
is the real thing. There have been others, and I stubbornly thought we had
something going, but this is different. This is true love.
His name is Obie, and he's a German Shepherd. He's my
Sure, it can be argued that I'm only in love with him
because I can love him and leave him, only seeing him when I want. But our
relationship goes much deeper than that. Anyone who argues otherwise
doesn't understand true love.
We have a bond, Obie and I. I take him on long walks,
overfeed him at meal time, give him treats, slip pieces of steak to him
under the table, give him more treats, take him to Tahoe, let him lick my
plate after I'm finished, take him to the beach, give him more treats, and
ask nothing in return.
For some reason, though, he loves me unequivocally.
No one is more excited to see me than Obie. When my son
drops him at my house for a playdate or sleepover, he goes absolutely wild
with joy, with hardly a glance back at my son as he drives off. Love will
do that to you.
Into the kitchen we go, to our favorite place, the
refrigerator. It is there that we look into each other's eyes, bonding
once again over the piece of salami we are about to share. And then
another, and another. Leftover chicken from the night before---bring it
on. It's a feast of love.
Then it's off for a walk, where everyone we pass
comments on what a handsome dog I have. I beam with pride, forgetting for
a moment that I had nothing to do with his looks. But I glance at his
regal face and muscular physique and bask in the knowledge that he is
mine. Sort of.
I mumble a happy "thank you" and we move on
to the next compliment from the next passerby. Eventually, we get to a
place where there are no people and no dogs, and I take him off the leash.
"Run free, my love," I say. "I know
you'll always come back to me."
And he does, whenever I call. I slap a piece of salami
into his mouth in appreciation of his incredible loyalty, and we move on
to the next adventure.
Other dogs I've had never loved me as much, and I'm
honest enough to say I never loved them the way I love Obie. First there
was Ralph the mutt, who always ran away, and then there was Murphy the
golden lab, who liked to bite children, and then there was Rocko the pug,
who urinated on my home treadmill machine and blew up the motor, and
finally there was Lucy the pug, who had the audacity to die only months
before I started writing this column, depriving me of a multitude of
material. Being 17 was no excuse.
I even had other granddogs, but it wasn't the same.
There was Bandit the dachshund/corgi mix, who only liked women. I tried to
bond with him, but there was no connection. Perhaps he was jealous of what
Obie and I had going. Maybe that's why he bit both of us.
But now there's just Obie and me. I never thought I'd
be in love with a German Shepherd, but I am. I've forgiven the breed for
their Nazi concentration camp work, and realize that Obie is from a
different generation that probably doesn't even remember those snapping,
snarling dogs from the pictures and movies.
Just because Iím in love doesnít mean Iím blind
to Obieís faults, though. Sure, he likes to bite the necks of other dogs
that run away from him, but heís never hurt any of them.
And when he crouches down in attack mode when he sees another dog a
block away---thatís just Obie being Obie. Nothing a piece of salami
I wish we could be together more, but the time always
comes for goodbyes. When we hear my son's car pull up, we head to the
refrigerator to commiserate. Since we both love cheese, we share a final
piece of provolone and then walk quietly to the door. With a hug and a
shared glance, he is gone.
Until next time, my love.