Disclaimer: EVERYTHING IS FINE. You’re about to read about one of Barnaby’s less-intelligent moments, and it’s important to know going in that he is just fine. He is his normal, happy, healthy self. That said, if stories about dogs encountering hurts upset you, then you should NOT read the following post. Really. It will just upset you, and for no good reason, because as I wrote before, BARNABY IS FINE.
Imagine, if you will, that you are an ebullient four-year-old German Shepherd/Bernese Mtn. Dog mix. You love life. You love people. You love sticks. There are lots of things that you love, and high on that list this morning is “running around like a caffeinated jackrabbit” because yesterday it rained all day, and you were stuck inside, and it was BORING.
But happy of happies, your surrogate family brought you to the big echoing stone building they call “church” this morning, which is AWESOME, because there are these loooooong corridors where you can practice your greyhound impression.
And on top of that, it’s the building where your favorite person lives, unaccountably apart from you for the duration of this year, and seeing her is momentarily even more exciting than sticks!
So you are hyper, and happy, and your favorite person has let you come outside with her so she can gather produce and flowers from the garden to decorate the church, and you are happily racing up and down the aisles between raised beds of carrots and tomatoes when you see this:
And you think to yourself, “YAAAAAAY! Now I can practice my impression of a steeplechaser!” And you barrel toward the wall, gracefully o’erleap it, and prepare yourself for a landing that would earn a “10” from any Olympic judge in her proper senses.
Except as you clear the wall, you realize something terribly unfortunate: the ground on the other side of the wall is not three feet away. For some horribly nonsensical and non-steeplechasing-friendly reason, it is 20 feet away.
And as you sail toward the rapidly approaching ground, still graceful, still gorgeously in form, you cannot help but think to yourself, “Boy, if my favorite person didn’t like my chewing on those bamboo sticks earlier, she’s really not gonna like this.”
You are correct. As your favorite person witnesses your leap in horrified disbelief, she experiences an acidic cocktail of guilt, incredulity, and shock, thinking as she did (with a tall biped’s unthinking prejudice) that no dog could possibly be so stupid as to undertake that jump. She flinches as you hit the ground with an unintentional yelp, and shouts at you to sit and stay.
You, however, eager to prove that really, you’re perfectly fine, limp up the hill toward the sound of her voice. As the pitch of her voice becomes frantic, you admit that perhaps, yes, sitting is a good idea, and obediently plant your behind on the grass. Your favorite person disappears from view, presumably coming towards you. You decide to wait patiently, and think to yourself that really, all things considered, things could have been much worse. For example, there could have been a bath at the bottom of that drop.
Two seconds after you decide to wait patiently, you get bored, and decide to go see where your favorite person went. You run off to meet her halfway on her way to you, furiously wagging your tail, with no sign of a limp.
She leads you over to the garden, feels your legs all over for some strange reason that you’ve already forgotten, takes off your collar, removes clods of dirt and an extremely surprised earthworm, and speaks in a very concerned, gentle voice to you. You pant happily and trot over to the pile bamboo stakes. Your favorite person still won’t let you eat them, but her chastisements are much milder, and she lets you continue to lay by them as she finishes her work in the garden.
You lay quietly, thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, it’s time to retire the steeplechaser impression. There’s no way you can ever top that performance, after all.
Later, you get to sit in the church service, perking your ears whenever your favorite person speaks out loud, enjoying the heck out of the pats of all of the people as they come back from communion, tacitly letting small children pet you during the peace. Your favorite part, though, is when your favorite person and your surrogate family all huddle with you later in the service, and ask for God’s blessing on you. Your leg doesn’t really hurt anymore, and you already feel pretty blessed, but you figure another one couldn’t hurt.
And your favorite person, who smells like she lost five years off her life while watching you plummet, heartily agrees.