The Dog is a wagging, pooping, barking embodiment of hope. His hope is relentless and vast. Nothing can shatter The Dog’s daily measure of hope will not be quenched. He does not comprehend that I am not going to take him with me running. Not now. Not anymore.
But daily he rises, at the merest hint of running shoe rubber on flooring. At the slightest gesture I might take toward my running drawer. This is the drawer where I keep my headphones, my hats and gloves, my ear bands and arm bands and water belts. He knows. He knows that if something comes out of that drawer, if I put on my shoes, or a hat, if I’m walking around in that stupid running bra, looking for my favorite running shirt, knowing all the while it’s still in the dryer, that I’m going to hit the road. I make several annoying laps through the house, growing more irritated as he shadows me, edging closer to my feet, desperate to go for a run with me.
I am a cold hearted woman. I can hold his deep brown gaze and turn from it without one single pang of guilt. I can even smile at him when he cocks his head as if to beg me. He presents his case with what my children could only hope to master: puppy dog eyes. I talk to him as I slide the arm band up, strapping my phone and music to my arm. I pat his head as I put on my socks and shoes. I give him generous scoops of food and bowls of water, I promise him that his owners, the children and their father, will ensure that he gets a nice, long walk today. Then I walk out the door, and I do not think of him again until I return.
Dude is the first one to greet me, every single time, and either he is playing a masterful game of “I will get you someday,” or he’s genuinely thrilled to see me. A feeling I do not reciprocate, but I pat him all the same. I’m not a total jerk.
I ask myself every day how he can be rejected, every single day, and still act surprised that I don’t take him. How can he be rejected every day and still ask again the next? How can he be rejected every day and still be happy to see me? Will this doofus ever learn? So, either he’s a bit slow on the uptake, or he’s a dog. Or maybe his reserves of hope are as deep as the earth. Maybe the confidence he has in his own powers of persuasion is so strong he can not permit himself to quit hoping, and asking
I don’t know. But—and this hurts me a little bit to admit—I kind of find this part of his character rather endearing. He has a deep and abiding hope that one day, he will get to run with me again. And he will not stop asking. Because, I bet he thinks, today just might be the day.
Not a bad way to look at the world. What are you hoping for with stores as deep as the earth?