One morning, I was just about to rush out the door for work. As usual, I was running late. I kissed my husband good bye, and as I walked past my bird, Finn, on his perch, he called to me with his bright, sassy chirp. I stopped, and made a fuss over him, giving and receiving little kisses and kissing sounds. “Awwww, Good boy!” I said in my little baby bird voice, over and over, then turned to leave.
“What about Smoky?” my husband asked. I followed his gaze and pointing finger. There sat Smoky, on his dog bed, tail wagging his entire body from the back end up, his deep brown eyes shining in adoration at me. He was just quietly waiting for me to notice and say goodbye to him, too. My heart shattered in my chest, and fell to pieces on the floor. I put down my briefcase, my purse, my lunch bag and my mug of coffee, and walked over to hug my dog, scratch his ears, tell him what a good boy he is. He shivered in pleasure at the attention, smiling his dog smile. I could just hear him saying “Ah! She remembered me!”
To think I would have just walked out without a kind word to him. He would have waited until he heard the car leave the driveway, and then, silently laid back down on his dog bed, nose to tail, a little sad, a lot lonely, and waited. How many days has this happened already, how many times has he witnessed my mad rush, my only paying attention to the ones who made the most noise? How many times have I passed him over in his faithful silence? Leaving with nothing on my mind but the full day of work ahead.
And yet. Every night, hours and hours later, when I come wearily through the door with my burdens of the day, he is the first one to greet me at the door, with the same smile, the same shining eyes, helicopter tail whirling, lower body wagging along with it. Waiting for a kind word, a pat on the head, and if he’s really lucky, a scratch of the ears. All is forgiven, or, no, more than that, as far as he is concerned, there is nothing to forgive. How lucky am I to have known the grace of a dog’s love.