Charlie watched through the window as they both exited the neighboring house, with that all too familiar look in their eyes. Out they went, into the backyard for what he soon began appropriately calling “task time.” With the master barking commands, Jasper would follow each one to a tee, as if it was his life’s ambition and his true calling. Eyes on the master, with the prize in mind, he did as commanded. With each successful task completed, praise was earned and gladly received.
Like a kid peering through the glass window of a candy store, the window would sometimes get foggy from Charlie’s warm breath - but with every inward breath, the view of “task time” became clearer. Something else also became clearer – Charlie began to realize that he would never be as obedient to his master as Jasper was. No matter how hard he tried, he was not wired to scale a fence, chase down a fleeing criminal, or search for missing children. All things Jasper was conditioned to do as diligently trained police K-9 dog.
With each flying leap Jasper took, a feeling all too familiar – a feeling of insignificance began to swell over Charlie, who at 12 yrs. old was a grandfather in Golden Retriever time. “What have I done with my life? What have I accomplished far from eating biscuits and spending time with my master? Sometimes I do what I am told, but most of the time I just want to do my own thing and be lazy. Heck, sometimes I even surprise myself when I catch a tennis ball in my mouth – when it doesn’t bounce off my nose that is.“ All these thoughts raced heavily through Charlie’s mind as Jasper performed
With a heavy sigh, Charlie crept away from the window and across the hallway to where his owner Jack sat in his Study. He liked when Jack was in his study - quietly doing some paperwork at his oversized mahogany desk. The smell of leather on the chair and the aroma of coffee from his cup filled the room with comfort. Charlie also liked it because there was plenty of room for him to lay right under the desk, and curl up at Jack’s feet. He also knew that there was always a few biscuits tucked away in one of those many desk drawers. As for his contribution to Jack’s paperwork – Charlie liked to think that he was helping him out by keeping his feet warm. But once again, he realized that he was still no Jasper.
As the hours went by and both the coffee and paperwork became less and less, Jack took a glance down at Charlie still quietly resting at his feet. Like a sentinel at his post, Charlie remained there. No foot would go cold, if he had any say in it! “Charlie, if it wasn’t for you, I would be one lonely guy.” Jack said. He then reached down and lovingly rubbed Charlie’s nose like he had for years. It had been just the two of them since Jack’s wife had passed away from a long battle with cancer. Charlie had provided a companionship to Jack that he had both needed and enjoyed. From their seemingly endless walks, to an all too often shared bag of Doritos, they were pals.
A few seconds later, Charlie glanced up and caught Jack looking at him with that grin he always had on his face. It was then that Charlie heard the only thing he really ever needed to hear – “I love you buddy.” Jack’s words were always enough to ease his furry little mind. With a heavy sigh, he closed his eyes and went back to sleep- for he realized that like Jasper, he too was living his life’s ambition and his true calling. His calling and his significance was found only when he was at the foot of his Master.