Très timide mais fort...

Odd as this might seem to some, one of the other reasons we've chosen to curtail our extra
travel during this sabbatical is Lucie. As has been noted here on various occasions, our three year old shepherd/hound mutt is very nervous - très timide mais fort -  we often say to those who ask about her in the park. And with Dianne's injured hand (from before the sabbatical) it has become clear that being away - or going to new places during these last six weeks - is far more work than we can muster. Honestly, traveling with our girl is a two person operation.

This morning, she and I had a good walk: we got up earlier than Di, I got her "beer and dog food sedative prepared" and had my morning tea. Then, we schlepped down to Parc Baldwin in a mostly chill manner. She was still rattled when a massive truck crashed by us, but for the most part she followed my calm lead and did well. Learning how to help her - and enlisting the wisdom of a local trainer - has been an unexpected spiritual discipline. She gets us out of the apartment when it is raining. She asks us to slow down and really pay attention no matter what we are feeling. And she is so sweet once we all return to the quiet and safety of our digs.

If you've never had to nurture une chien qui est  très timide mais fort count yourself blessed. At the same time, another type of grace has been shared with us as Lucie's care givers - and I wouldn't trade it for all tea in China. Mary Oliver put it like this in her lovely book, Dog Songs.

Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?

He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.
And when I’m awake, or awake enough
he turns upside down, his four paws
  in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.
“Tell me you love me,” he says.
“Tell me again.”

Could there be a sweeter arrangement? Over and over
he gets to ask.
I get to tell.
Onward to practicing the bass as this day ripens. 


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