Friday, September 21, 2012

Conversations With Ollie-Dog

Ollie-Dog  Keeps up on his hygiene. From Foreverhouse
Ollie-Dog and I sit on the lawn and watch in the murk of the passing day the neighbor boys play guns, mini commandos darting in and out of sight through the trees. There’s no wind, so the cool evening invigorates both of us, though we stay close together for a little extra warmth.

Ollie-Dog is a good listener. Most of the time. He’s still a puppy and he gets bored and wants to play, nipping at hands and feet to get a reaction, to show his excitement. Tonight he just sits, fascinated by the rattling gun and the flashes he spots in the dim light, better than me, of boys at play. Tonight he consents to play the calm, attentive puppy role.

We talk about the kids a bit, then I ask “Do you want a baby brother or sister, Ollie?” He turns his head at the sound of his name, I say his name again, questioning, waiting for a response. His head cocks to the side, considering the possibility. He turns away, uncommitted. “I’m talking about a baby, Ollie, not a puppy. Does that make a difference?”

The staccato of the gun and the incongruent call of “Stealth mode!”, holds more interest. Ollie-Dog is happy with me scratching under his chin. Babies- human or otherwise- aren’t of interest tonight it seems.

I’m not bothered. Ollie-Dog is often like that, so I’m used to his indifference.

We move on to talk of work as the sun finally gives over the day to the night. Neither of us are interested in talk of work and conversation drifts to silence. Even the boys have quieted, or perhaps they’ve managed at last to discover the elusive stealth mode, aided no doubt by the darkness.

Ollie-Dog re-adjusts closer. I move my leg enough for him to tuck against my chest and we wait in silence. Mommy is supposed to be home. Ollie-Dog wants to jump and do circles in front of her when she arrives to show her how much he loves his Mommy. And Mommy might give him a treat when she goes inside because he’s Cute and a Good Dog.

We wait as long as we can but Mommy is late. She won’t want to talk about work, either, but that’s okay with Ollie-Dog. It’s okay with me, too. I think about a quiet evening at home with my wife and the little ball of sporadic red-furred chaos who now sits so innocent wrapped in my arms. By the way Ollie-Dog is shifting, I can tell innocence is almost lost. He’s ready to move.

It’s time to go inside, finish our waiting in the warm and bright where the balls wait to be chased and chewed and maybe a crumbly might fall from the sky for patient dogs who are always vigilant for such things. I can talk just as well indoors as I can out, I think, so down the walkway we go.

Ollie-Dog and I, on the move, going places. “Nice talking to you, Ollie.” He wags his tail, nips my hand, and together, we go in the house.


Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Ollie is a cutie-pie. Dogs do make good listeners don't they.

MT Nickerson said...

Isn't it great having a conversation with a dog, Julia? My wife and I have an Ollie voice, so the conversations aren't always completely one-sided. Weird, I guess...