(This post is the 4th of a story I began a few days ago.)
The dog was long and lanky, with a brilliant red coat of hair that glistened in the sun. It was roughly three and a half feet tall and looked like it could easily knock over a six year old child. Charlie got quite familiar with its power while it licked him, leaning against him all the while.
While the dog in some ways was big, it had a goofy, happy quality that was disarming. Its tongue tended to hang lazily down the right side of its face, and its continuous panting, mouth open wide, made it look cheerful, as if it was wearing a huge grin on its face. Its eyes shone with an honesty and love that Charlie liked immediately.
“Now where’d you come from, girl?” Charlie wondered aloud. “What kind of dog are you?”
Charlie didn’t know that much about dogs, not having grown up with them. He knew that there were big dogs, and there were small dogs. This was definitely in the big dog category, although not the biggest. Also, there were dogs that looked dangerous, and there were those who didn’t. This one definitely did not.
“That’s an Irish Setter!” Stevie pronounced suddenly, so close it almost made Charlie jump. He had forgotten that the boy had been watching the whole encounter from the basketball court. Clearly he had come over to check it out more closely.
“My dad’s friend at work, Gus,” Stevie continued, “he has an Irish Setter just like this. His name is Seymour. Seymour is the friendliest dog! We’ve gone on picnics with him and Muffintop. That’s our dog. She’s a schnow… a Shnauzer!”
Charlie considered this lesson on dog types. An Irish Setter, eh? “Hmm,” he said, considering. “I wonder what she is doing here?”
“Maybe it is lost,” Stevie said, and then suggested rather definitely, “Maybe it needs a home.”
Charlie chuckled. “Hmm. Maybe.”
“You should check to see if it has a dog tag. Usually dogs who have families, they make them wear a doggie tag, so that if the dog gets lost, you know who to call.” Stevie said this with a smile. He was glad to be sharing information which Charlie clearly needed. Giving valuable information to an adult made Stevie feel important.
Charlie reached gingerly towards the dog, who let him move his head to the side so he could examine his neck. “Nope,” said Charlie, “No tag. Hmm.”
“Yep, I bet the dog was lost. Maybe it is looking for a new home. It likes you!”
Charlie got a feeling of what the kid was implying. Yet it was a little too soon to make adoption plans, even though he liked the dog. “Well, I better see if there’s someone I can call.” At this, he turned back in the direction of his house.
The dog followed, as if on command. In fact, it followed so closely behind Charlie that to Stevie it looked like Charlie had taken it on a walk and had simply forgotten a leash. “It’s following you home!” Stevie exclaimed. He was having so much fun right now. First, he was supplying important information to an adult. Second, he was witnessing what felt like a very important meeting.
Because, whether Charlie knew it or not, the dog had already adopted him.