The dog walked over and sat down next to the easy chair, looking up with the sad puppy-dog eyes that dogs have mastered since the beginning of time.
“I’m bored,” her eyes seemed to say. “There’s nothing to do here. Is this all there is to life?”
“You could read a book,” he said with a smile, mimicking what his mother used to say. “You could go outside and play if you promise not to dig up holes and eat plants that make you throw up.”
At this the dog took a few steps, circled three times and curled up on the floor, either sulking or drifting off to sleep, or both.
“This does seem to be all there is to life sometimes, doesn’t it, Luv?” he said to the dog. “We work for our food and shelter, we keep them and ourselves fit and clean, we pretty up the place a bit, and we entertain ourselves with books and music and TV.” He thought about this for a little while. “It’s not a bad life. We have enough to get by, if not too much. But you don’t want to just ‘get by,’ do you?
“You want to run through fields and chase the ball for me, race the rabbits through the woods, and step outside the boundaries and see what adventures await out there. I do know how you feel, and I can assure you there is life galore to be had outside these walls and even outside these three lovely acres.”
He sat and reflected about some of the life he had led out there, some of it high adventure indeed, some of it happy, some of it very sad.
“Come on, girl,” he said to the dog, who jumped right up because she was only pretending to sleep for his sake. “Let’s go for a walk.”
I would like to say that walk changed everything, that he and the dog lived happily ever after. He did see how much she enjoyed sniffing here way along the field and the street, marveling at everything as if seeing it for the first time — and come to think of it, we are seeing everything for the first time moment by moment, day by day, aren’t we? We might change our attitude about life if we saw it all like a dog on a walk.
But for the most part, it was a walk like any other, on a day like any sunny summer day, and in the end it was not memorable, except in the sense that sunny summer days pile up and create an impression that walking along with a dog on a sunny summer day is a pleasant experience that bears repeating, and years from now on a cold winter night, he will think back and remember the summers, and the night won’t feel quite so cold.