Any day I see Shamu is a very good day.
I met this grand Great Dane/German Shepherd mix maybe five years ago in Central Park and have seen him several times since then. Almost every time I’ve seen him, I’ve exclaimed, “Shamu!” and stopped to smoosh him and chat with his dad. That was the case this morning on my walk home through the park.
As I stopped, I saw a woman I thought I also knew from the park walking with an adorable little shaggy dog who reminded me of another dog named Trudy. (For a while, I had thought her name was Woody because her mom, Marai [I’m guessing on the spelling; it’s pronounced like “Mah-RYE”], has a bit of a European accent, and I couldn’t quite make out the name. Heehoo!) We both chatted with Shamu’s dad and smooshed Shamu. We were both grinning like idiots.
“Shamu is the biggest motivation for everything I do,” his dad said. Marai and I said we understood completely. We all admired Shamu some more, which is physically impossible *not* to do.
“Didn’t you have a little dog that looks kind of like the one you’re with today?” I said to Marai (I didn’t know the woman’s name until today). She said yes, she did, but Trudy (or “Trudle”, as she was now calling her — I guess I had *still* been mishearing the name!) left this world about a year ago. “Her heart stopped,” Marai said. I felt like mine did too.
After we left Shamu and his dad, we walked a while together with her little scruffy dog, Grace, a rescue (just like Trudle) bounding in front of us. Grace would turn around to look at us and smile and we would smile back at her and at each other. “I couldn’t be without another dog after Trudle,” she said, “I told my daughter to go online and find me a little someone.” She is now in love with little Grace.
We gabbed some more about dogs and losing fuzzy members of our families. She then went her way and I went mine, and I found myself by a little grassy area dotted with a wide variety of dogs all happy to just be dogs, and I grinned like a big dope. I turned and there was Marai again, who had approached from an opposite direction, making her way back. “I love it. I just LOVE it,” she said, grinning at me, as she passed.
I called out, “Oh, I know! So do I!”
Mornings like this, connecting with people like this (and dogs like these), slowly strolling through the park, not letting stupid nonsense clog the ol’ brain-nook, just being, as “they” say, in the moment … this must be what it’s like to be a dog.