Carmela the basset and I now have a weekly date on Saturdays. Around Thursday I leave a note for her, asking if she’s free. Reads something like this:
Dear Carmela, would love to walk with you on Saturday (sabado). If available don’t forget to ask your parents. Will be waiting by the gate at 11ish. Love, Susannah
I’m sure her family thinks I’m nuts, however, either a maid or one of them brings her out all harnessed and ready to go. It would be so much easier if I could call, but the language barrier makes it difficult. I can see them trying to decipher my note that always more or less says the same thing. If I just put an X they should know my intention.
How things have changed since our very first walk. Carmela was so apprehensive…pulling back towards her father, looking at me suspiciously. Now when we meet, she can’t wait. It’s as though she’s thinking…oh I know the drill…we stroll, you let me do whatever I want, then we come back home all loved and tuckered out. Count me in.
I’ve clearly earned her trust.
We also don’t go to the park very often…too much going on for her. An alternate route along Third Avenue seems to work better, and now she knows all the store keepers who go weak in the knees when they see her.
She’s a real hit in the shop WINK, a little funky boutique selling sexy dresses and Hunter Boots. The security guard is Spanish, so he talks to Carmela in their mutual language.
She looks at him very intently while he speaks as if any minute she’ll answer.
One can assume without a doubt, she’s one bilingual basset hound.
Then we visit Herb the doorman who keeps a bottle of water just for her. She pops right in the front door like it’s a neighborhood bar. He holds it gently while she guzzles it like a beer giving her whatever’s left in the bottle she carries herself. It’s the hound in her bringing home its prey, in her case, plastic…five cent deposit.
We amble back up to Madison, home, 50 or so minutes later.
I will admit the last couple blocks are tough. She collapses like a blow-up dog in the middle of the sidewalk. “Come on Carm,” I say, hoping she’ll rally quickly. When all else fails out come the treats that work every time. “You know we’re not suppose to have carbs Carmela,” but like any other full-figured gal, she really doesn’t care.
Yesterday I went to see if she might be out sunbathing, but instead was in the kitchen eating. I stood on the sidewalk watching through the window when suddenly she turned, saw me, and came bounding out the front door pushing it open with her nose.
My heart, that’s been a little heavy, lifted itself on its hind legs.
She knows I come for a quick visit, so like any good hostess, tries not to disappoint and in turn gets a a nice long hiney rub, something she loves (who doesn’t).
Animals are nature’s own Mood Elevator.
Could put Prozac and company right out of business.