Quincy is a very literal sort of dog. And he takes things personally. He’s more agreeable than well trained, although he’s rather opinionated. He tries very hard, but is shy. Loyal to a fault. Vulnerable and naive and not terribly brave, but compellingly sincere.
Quincy is the kind of dog who barks first and asks questions later. Particularly when anyone comes to my house. No matter how often they may visit, how well he may know them, male or female, young or old or anywhere in between, he announces their arrival well and loudly. He announces it to me, to them, to himself, to most of the neighbors: “They’re here!” He barks it at the top of his voice.
The purpose of their visit doesn’t matter either – to steal the silver or bring a cake, to fix the plumbing or take me to lunch, it’s all the same salutation. Quincy prefers to figure out the good or the bad of it later. It’s all about the greeting, the acknowledgement, his statement about being aware of them.
He has even been able to determine that when I am on the phone, I must be talking to someone he simply can’t see. So his solution is to run through the house barking out loud and looking everywhere for them – room to room, door to door, window to window, and back again to bark directly at the phone.
This can be rather disconcerting to the caller. And unpredictable in this day of technology and automation. Q’s bark has disconnected some unwanted phone scams (good dog!). But he has also created some unintentional, albeit interesting, results when the automated options are “press or say ONE for yes … press or say TWO for no” … and he barks “ONE.” And I just have to go with it from there. And once he apparently barked “FOUR” because I was suddenly talking with a nice man in charge of Medicare questions for businesses, who fortunately liked dogs and found the humor in it all and transferred me to the department I actually wanted.
Quincy has been a life-lesson to me since the first day I brought him home from the orphanage – as have all of the animals who have graced my life and gentled my heart and left footprints all over my memories. This one’s barking at the unseen visitors is no exception.
I suspect I am meant to learn much from this simple example, not the least of which is to notice everyone who comes to the door of my life – the easy to see as well as those who are too often left unseen. I suspect I am meant to remember to welcome them with equal enthusiasm, with an equality of treatment. To say “hello” first and ask questions later – to not judge (after all, they may be the ones with cake).
I suspect, too, I am being taught to be involved with life personally and literally. To be agreeable, even if I’m opinionated. To try hard even when it’s difficult. To be loyal even to a fault. That it’s okay to be shy and vulnerable and naive and not necessarily brave, as long as I’m always sincere.
And, of course, there is the compelling lesson to never miss an opportunity to choose “YES” (or possibly “FOUR”) … because you just never know where it can lead.
© Marti Healy 2020