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Friday, April 6, 2018

The Sound of Time Passing




We very recently discovered that Smudges our well-loved but ill-behaved dog had grown deaf. Unrolling a strip of aluminum foil no longer brings him to the kitchen from his sunny snooze spot upstairs wildly barking and chasing his tail in chastisement. The doorbell barely registers a peep unless he is close enough to see the UPS man approaching the door. Then as expected, he valiantly protects me with loud if not ferocious threats aimed at the shadow outside.
Smudges is a rescue dog, adopted more than ten years ago when I realized that with my daughter in high school, the deadline was fast approaching to keep that promise to get a dog someday. Seems that someday had popped off the timeline and turned into tomorrow with the blink of an eye.
The next adoption day at the pet store brought us to a crowd of puppies and people. My daughter picked out Smudges immediately and immediately we were advised to put him back. That one is just trouble. Even placed him on a farm hoping the other dogs would teach him his place, but he just never learned. The woman in the blue shirt looked at my daughter and son, then at me.  If you are looking for a dog to play in the park during the day and rest at your feet at night, this isn’t the one.
I was looking for a dog to play with my kids and rest at my feet while I wrote, but my daughter had already made up her mind. This was a dog who was simply  misunderstood, maybe as she sometimes felt. She put the dog back in the box, but only to convince my husband and me that this was the one.
After the requisite ultimatums and promises, we finally agreed that this soft, freckled, bright-eyed bundle was the destined family pet. 
In the meantime, someone had snatched Smudges and was arrogantly walking around with him cradled in her arms. We followed the woman around the store for awhile, and I finally asked her if she planned on keeping the dog she held. I think so, she said smugly.
That was it. My daughter was done. No other dog would suffice. We left the store and drove around as if we had lost a beloved family member.
Let’s just go back inside and see if he really is gone, I said. Maybe she changed her mind.
The haughty woman had changed her mind (probably on the advice of the woman in the blue shirt) and my family happily left the pet store with our incorrigible puppy, one who despite numerous training sessions still forces us to chase him around the neighborhood with treats and threats if someone leaves the door open, who still barks at beams of light and dog treats that do not toss themselves when he wants to play. 
Smudges plays less frequently now; his bright eyes have grown filmy and he’s sprouted numerous warts, but no dog is more loved, and there is surprisingly little joy in unrolling aluminum foil in silence.
         Onedays and somedays keeping popping off that timeline and turning into tomorrow.