This past Monday I was harvesting fir boughs for the West Bethel Union Church’s greens sale, which is coming up this Saturday morning, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the church. I cut down two large fir trees, harvested a couple marketable logs and proceeded to de-limb the trees and snip off the green tips suitable for making wreaths. Dan and Lydia Grover came up to join in the harvest activities, after they delivered a pickup load they harvested on “the Farm.”
Of course, big dog Shiloh joined the fun. He romped around picking up sticks and teased anyone busy by pushing into us trying to convince whichever of us paid any attention to grab hold of the stick in his mouth and try to wrest it away from him, while he shook his head and pulled back mightily. Mostly, Shiloh pestered Lydia because she seemed the easier touch and didn’t push him away as forcefully as Dan and I.
After putting up with Shiloh’s antics for a while, I began to think about Shiloh and dogs in general. Who has a better life than a dog? He/she has a full food dish night and morning without having to work for it. His job is to do fun and silly stuff just to make us laugh and point and give him treats. He presses his toys into our laps and looks up with that big grin and sparkling eyes, knowing we will give in and play with him a minute just to get rid of him for a while. He makes fun out of the simplest objects: a bent stick, a small sapling, chasing a bird or a dry leaf blowing in the wind, or a butterfly dancing on the breeze. When he is tired, he just plops down wherever he might be and goes to sleep, or he may just lie flat with his nose on his outstretched paws and let his eyes follow your every move, with that “I love you” expression all over his droopy face. He can brighten the most grumpy man’s expression by sidling up next to him and gently licking the side of his outstretched hand.
He is always joyously happy to greet you whenever you come home after a hard day, especially if you have been away for a few days. He forgives all your unkindnesses to him, and he makes clear his disappointment whenever he’s told to “stay here” when you’re headed for the pickup truck: head hung low, eyes drooping, ears drooping, shoulders slouched and tail between his legs. When you are tired and grumpy, he is satisfied just to be as close to you as he can get, following your every move or just lying by your chair with his muzzle on top of your feet.
In sum, having a dog like Shiloh somehow makes life more rewarding.