My well being is fueled by the company of my dog, Lola with whom I spend all of my time when there’s no human company. She’s an objective listener when my conversations are between multiple sides of me. Lola has adapted to the changes in my life. She’s a trooper, having ridden over 9000 miles with me without complaint. Lola’s love is unconditional. She’s tranquil most of the time. We have similar goals and values where it concerns good food, fun, a balance of activity and rest, and being outdoors. Lola’s love offsets periods of loneliness.
Lola has made quite a few canine friends of her own along the way. For example, Hank the vizsla in LaGrange, Kentucky, with whom she had barking contests, and who did his best to teach her how to catch flies. She had a big time with Gracie, a golden retriever in St. Louis, in whom she found the ideal playmate. There was Oliver, the male golden doodle from Indianapolis who is about three times Lola’s size. Oliver and Toby, the red healer from Chicago, both demonstrated aptitude for urinating on potted plants on their patios. Fortunately Lola didn’t get the hang of this predominately male practice. Winston from Wisconsin (“Winnie”) demonstrated a relentless quest for humping Lola. Her rebuttals didn’t slow his determined male ego. I’m grateful that Lola is from the shallow end of the testosterone pool.
There are hard parts about traveling with a dog. I had to leave Lola with a sitter for a week in Columbus, Ohio when I flew from there to Massachusetts. It temporarily caused my heart to ache. Dogs that don’t fit under seats aren’t allowed on passenger planes. Rover, a dog sitting service with an app that includes sitter profiles, provided me with great sitters who’d keep Lola in their homes. I also had to board her for a week in Duluth, Minnesota, when friends and I rented a house that didn’t allow pets. Both of these sitters make their livings as full time dog caretakers. Even without meeting Lola in advance to be certain that she was compatible with other canines, they trusted that she would be fine because of my testimonial, and because she’s a doodle, a breed with whom neither of them had ever had issues. Lola fared much better than I did during our times apart. She’s doesn’t do homesick.
In contrast to humans whose emotions fluctuate so widely between joy and its absence, I’m impressed with the simplicity about the things that elevate Lola’s disposition. Playing fetch with a ball or a stick is her equivalent of winning the lottery. When we’re out on walks, Lola’s eyes are always peeled for a wayward tennis ball. Sometimes she steals them from the front yards of young children. By the time I’m aware of the theft, it’s often too late to return the property to the scene of the crime. The only activity that holds more sway than playing fetch is chasing squirrels. Though she’ll never catch one, she’ll not stop trying. It’s all about the journey.
Lola is my pet and she’s also my pal. When we have earnest exchanges, we are always looking directly into one another’s eyes. I’m more than just the supplier of her meals. She gets excited when she sees me. She sits in the passenger seat in the rig and stares out the window when I go places without her. It’s her way of asking to be taken along instead of being left behind. She’s demanding and she’s amusing. She’s determined to get her message heard when there is a need. She is good natured, friendly, and precious. She’s respectful but not particularly well trained. She’s not a good match for people who don’t like to give dogs attention. She’s perfectly imperfect.