They all seem to love Sparkey. The mail carrier leaves dog biscuits rubber-banded to our mail, a ribbon added at Christmas time. One of our neighbors calls him "a jolly old chap", noting his floppy ears and sunny disposition. Across the street from our driveway is a home operated by the Department of Mental Retardation where four developmentally disabled individuals live. The staff love Sparkey and Tina, and Sparkey will often make a bee-line for their front door. We ring the doorbell like it's Hallowe'en, and dog biscuits galore are passed from hands to eager jaws wet with anticipatory saliva. We're sometimes invited inside, and Sparkey makes himself comfy in the kitchen, he and Tina both knowing exactly where the treats are kept.
The people at the vet's office love him, and one woman who works there has now become a reader of this blog. (A shout out to Lynn!) A former dog-sitter extraordinaire reads this blog from Long Island and sends waves of love for her favorite canines, going so far as to have pics of Sparkey and Tina as wallpaper on her computer desktop (Thanks, Melissa!)
Downtown, our local used CD store and collectively-owned independent bookstore welcome our dogs with open arms (and treats). When the bookstore doubled in size last year and held a party to celebrate the occasion, both dogs were there. Dancing to Latin tunes by a local DJ, Sparkey was on the dance-floor with us, a smile on his face, especially when cheese and crackers were proffered to him on the sly.
Everywhere we go, we hear songs of praise for our dogs. Are they special creatures? Oh yes. Are other dogs less special? Hardly. But, as our dearly departed friend Woody once said, "Your dogs are so loving because they get so much love."
The love is still flowing, and it is engendered daily by those whiskered canine countenances which brim with compassion, beam with loyalty, and constantly express unconditional positive regard for the members of their pack. Our love is unconditional as well, and it's strength lasts until death do we part, and beyond.