In the early hours of the crisp Colorado morning, my faithful hound Xena and I are often the only two creatures on the street. As darkness is inevitably overtaken by the bright rays of the rising sun; the two of us are always off on a new adventure, trekking through the neighborhood in search of whatever her nose will discover next.
The mornings have been pleasantly cool of late, which means many of our neighbors are sleeping with their bedroom windows open. Xena wears a number of tags on her collar; and like any good hound, she does not walk but rather prefers to canter regally. As we wind down the lanes, the rhythmic chime of her tags serves to announce our arrival wherever we go!
For the most part, our pedestrian symphony goes unnoticed. Yet there are those times where a slumbering canine, undoubtedly lying at the foot of his master’s bed, suddenly has his ears perk up. He snaps out of deep sleep and comes to the realization that a fellow dog is strolling merrily down the street. Suddenly, the entire neighborhood is echoing with the howls of envy emitted by this poor animal as he watches 100 pounds of hound dog sniffing around in his yard.
It would not be so bad, were it not for the fact that this typically occurs around 5:30 in the morning! It is not unusual for me to hear a somnambulist owner cursing at their pet, or tossing a shoe haphazardly towards the window. It adds whole new meaning to the concept of a snooze alarm!
If she appreciates her fellow barking canine, Xena will simply look up towards the window and wag her thick long tail. If she takes issue with what is being yelped at her; she will quietly turn away with an annoyed look on her face. Not once does it ever cross her mind to bark back, or in her case howl, at her furry nemesis!
Xena has the disposition of a gentle giant. She is larger than most dogs we encounter, but she lacks any concept of her stature. She is heavily muscled and yet carries herself with an understated grace that is usually only found in athletes. Aggression is a trait that is utterly alien to her. In her mind, she is a small petite lap dog. The only drawback is that I have yet to find a lap large enough to accommodate her!
Always ready to trust, being the socialite of the puppy world; Xena lives to make new friends, be they canine or human. Her outdoor adventures revolve around a simple philosophy; I trust you implicitly and I want us to get to know each other. I doubt she has ever in her mind hesitated to approach another dog; whether there is a set of snarling teeth or a wagging tail in front of her. It is the only way she knows.
Fate has been kind to me; always ready to share a life lesson with me at every turn. I have been blessed with an ability to draw the deeper meaning out of events and situations that others would never notice. It is these mystical and subtle nuances that feed my soul. It is why I choose to write and share of myself and my insights.
Then there are those times where the cosmos simply slaps me in the face with a newfound lesson. It was no small coincidence that one morning Xena and I were trudging our way back home. It had been a particularly long walk that early morning and both of us were slightly winded. Coming up the street towards the house, Xena paused to sniff out a new message from one of her dog friends. I looked at the car parked at the curb in front of us. A simple black and white bumper sticker proclaimed; “Wag More, Bark Less.”
The irony of it all came crashing down on me in welcome rejuvenation. Xena was standing next to me; her muscular neck resting against the outside of my thigh. I looked down at her watery reddish-brown eyes. For a moment I was certain that she was sharing her approval with me. It was a haunting gaze of acknowledgment and understanding that is still etched in my mind. For a brief moment, Xena had been the sage teacher and I had been her willing student!