My dog is the Great Equalizer.
It used to be my children whom I would rely on to narrow the gap or conquer the great divide, but now it is my 11-year-old Golden retriever who does the daily bidding for me.
Let me explain. When my children were young, I would make friends and acquaintances through them via school, sports, or activities. Their friend groups often transferred into my friend groups, and I have been grateful to them ever since for bringing fabulous women into my life with whom I still have lasting relationships. If not for the boys, I might not have met some of these women and subsequently create lifelong bonds.
Of course, my children were unaware of the introductions they were making on my behalf, much the way my Golden boy is today. Frankly, he just wants to go for a walk. At least that is the way it started…
As he and I meander around our new neighborhood sniffing out all of the freshest spots, we have passed a decent amount of fellow dog walkers. Some nod and pass by while others insist on petting him because he is a Golden retriever after all and a big fur ball of love. What started to occur was familiarity as we passed the same dog walkers and a sense that our new neighborhood was actually becoming home.
After walking the neighborhood for a month, the magic happened. A real conversation occurred with a fellow dog walker, and while we were chatting (about our dogs, of course), we were suddenly surrounded by a group of dogs and their owners gathering for a doggie play group. My new acquaintance was part of this planned meet up and quickly asked us to join.
Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds were bouncing and jostling around my boy. Balls were being thrown, territory was being established, treats were being handed out like candy, and happiness was happening everywhere. When I finally dragged my 70-pounder home after an exhausting introduction, he conked out on his doggie bed with a big dopey grin on his face.
It was the best day he had since we moved into our new home.
Because he is the oldest dog in the group and his eyesight is not as good as it used to be and the spring in his step is a bit slower, one of the lovely ladies of the group brought him his own special sparkly, squeaky ball so he could track it – and she let him bring it home! She is the true Dog Whisperer in the group.
Now when we go for our walks, he beelines directly for the area where the doggie play group meets whether the other dogs are there or not. If they are around, he perks up; if the group isn’t there, he sniffs around remembering the fun he had last time the group got together. I could not keep him away if I wanted to. Since joining the doggie play group, he has more pep in his step and joy in his heart, as do I watching him romp with his new gang.
As for me? Well, my Golden boy brought me a new friend group as well. He led me to a cluster of warm, welcoming women who immediately started inviting me over for wine and promises of more wine by their pools in the summer. They reach out when the group is going to meet with their dogs or to see if I am around for, you guessed it, an occasional glass of wine.
What we all have in common is love of our dogs, and what we all need, dogs included, are people in our lives, connections to others. I feel so fortunate to so quickly have met new neighbors and to have so easily been accepted into the enclave.
I have my dog to thank for that. He is the Great Equalizer.
Always a Dog Mom,