June 10, 2022 by Julia
For the most part, I use this blog to write about things that are topical or (I hope) insightful. But sometimes – especially during rough times – you just need a dose of the warm & fuzzies.
Being in an area of small suburban plots, my yard backs up to an elderly neighbor the next road over. When someone fenced in my yard, they didn’t bother with privacy fence along the back because the neighbor already had up chain link. My dogs, being a watch dog breed, like to bark at things happening on the other side of that fence.
I’ve heard my neighbor talk to them on occasion, but until this summer the overgrown ground vines kept me from being close enough to follow the dogs to the fence or chat with him. A few weeks ago he started talking to the pups when I was nearby. He has a high reedy voice of someone who’s been around longer than most & wears a bucket hat for the sun. He’s a bit like my own personal Wilson because, even with the brush cut back, I never really saw his face.
He asked their names. He didn’t ask mine or me his, but that’s how it is with dog lovers sometimes. He let me know “Their barking don’t bother me none. I know they are doing their job.” Then he asked if he could give them some treats – “Just them little milkbone things,” he said, “If that’s OK with you.” – I told him Delta was too much of a food snob, but Miles’ nickname was Mouth so he’d probably love them.
However, Miles is a bit of a wimp, so it might take some convincing at first. My neighbor grabbed some treats and I stood next to Miles to bolster his confidence. You could see Miles was instantly conflicted once he smelled the treats. Weird man with the funny voice and hat might not be trustworthy. But… FOOD!
Finally Miles crept to the edge of the fence, his body weight all leaning back as he stretched his neck out just far enough to grab the treat and take off running.
Since that day, Miles has been running to the back fence as soon as I let him out, looking for his pal. And demand-barking if the Cookie Man doesn’t hand out goodies right away. He’s starting to trust his new friend a bit more but still mostly takes his food to-go, running toward the house before he mows it down.
Miles looking for extra. Cookie Man knows the rules – no giving out seconds.
Today, Cookie Man was at the opposite end of his garden, which is parallel to the middle of my bushes. I watched Miles go around and through, trying to figure out how to get closer. He poked through a low spot, army crawled under a gap, and ran to the far end of the bush to see if that was a good spot. Finally he gave up and went to his normal spot and gave an alert bark. “I’m here, ready for my treat!” Sure enough I heard the neighbor start chatting with Miles and the telltale “Here ya go!” shortly before Miles bolted out of the bushes, already chewing. Miles tried to convince the man to give him another treat, but we’d agreed he’d just give him one when they visited, so it wouldn’t spoil his appetite for supper.
When I started to call Miles in for being a pest, Cookie Man called through the bushes “Oh, I don’t mind, he’s such a sweet boy. It’s nice to have his company.” It was a moment that made me smile. Miles, with his big heart and goofball ways, becoming a companion of sorts while the man worked alone in his garden.
There have been many times I am grateful for Miles coming into my life because of what he’s given me. This time, I was grateful to have him because of what he was able to give another.