How I wish I could be as readily ebullient as our dog, Yeller! For her it takes so little. Only offer a small encouraging word, casual pat on the head (or better yet, generous whomp on the rump), and she’s off like a sailor on a three-day pass.
Around and around the outer space of lawn she rockets: ear-flaps in horizontal motion; yellow lab coat sleek as butter; lips sucked back in the wind of her own self-created breeze; tail, half-propeller, half pendulum to act as rotor… deer legs a blur of whir.
Zip, pant-pant! Zoom, pant-pant!
When we come back after being away any length of time, Yeller brims with enthusiasm. To her ears the sound of our car is unique and committed to memory. As soon as she hears, or feels, that special vibration as near as the corner of our block, she leaps to action.
Should any ferocious fauna, such as house sparrows, hang about in the hedge, Yeller will make swift dispatch and send them into airborne flurry. Squirrels with nefarious intent will pay. Grasshoppers over three inches better skedaddle. Only after she has policed and cleared the yard of all interlopers will Yeller be ready to greet us with a licking that won’t stop ticking. Or sometimes the reverse.
There is a certain hour, such as very early morning, when our friends would not delight to see us. But for Yeller we do not have to be beautiful people: she’s as happy with nose warts and chin-hairs, bald heads and whales of bellies, as she would be with Brad and Angelina.
Odiferous under pits and unshaved legs? Not a problem! And it’s a good thing too, because the mirrors in our house are not as glad. That is the time we are most grateful for man 'and woman’s' best friend! In fact it is highly probable she is our only friend!
But if you really want to see canine joy at its zenith, only recite in Yeller’s presence the following line:
“Hey, girl, how about you and I go for a walk,” or any reasonable facsimile with the word walk in it.
Inside a well-insulated house the lowest clink of metal on metal, a bare hair-shift of her lead, can penetrate walls to inform doggy ears of impending constitutional.
Did you ever watch gravity reverse itself? See normally flaccid ears snap to attention and remain aloft as if held by invisible strings attached to equally invisible helium-filled balloons? Had a club of a tail beat your shins to a bloody pulp? Hear a tail tom-tom a tattoo on the side of the house, loud enough to shake its foundation?
Lasso a porpoise at the up of up and down undulation? Tango with a Tigger?
But Yeller is at her most contagious when she has no particular reason for high spirits. The morning is fresh from last night’s dew; the sun is warm on her back; she remembers where she buried that bone.
“What makes you such a happy, happy dog?” It was a rare day when Yeller’s exuberance was such I felt safe asking the question. “What’s so special about a little tummy scratch, Mommy and Daddy coming home from work, or going for a… a…”
Whew! That was a close one; good thing she can’t read minds!
“No, Yeller, down! Mommy can’t take you right now. Yeller, I said NO; now get your muddy paws off my chest this instant!
"Help! I can't breathe! Yeller, let me up!"
"Okay, I’m calling the Dog Whisperer, and he will not be happy”
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