Charley is sitting on the sofa while I work next to him on the computer. He is chomping away contentedly on a hard, hollow bone.
At one point, the bone clatters to the floor and slides under the coffee table. The pooch puts his head on his hands, stares at the bone, and whines a little. Whether he dropped it on purpose to get my attention or it just fell off the cushion remains a mystery.
Sometimes I let him deal with these issues on his own. Today I come to his rescue.
“What is it, pup?” I ask him (I always talk to him, like an old lady with a cat instead of a husband, never mind that I have a fiancee who’s a good listener), kneeling down on the floor in front of him.
Charley looks up at me, gives me a happy lick on the chin, then furrows his brow—dogs furrow their brows; it’s what makes them more aw-shucks lovable than cats—and stares back at his bone.
“You want your bone back? Gimme another kiss and you can have it.” Smart dog that he is, Charley licks me on the nose. I pick up the bone and toss it on the sofa to his left, expecting him to pounce on it and get back to his fun.
Instead, Charley looks back at me and gives me two big licks on the cheek, as if to say thanks. Then he happily goes back to his chewing.
No number of early and late walks in the rain is too many for such simple affection.