As a student, the only word that created more anxiety for me than finals was mid-terms. I was never a great test taker. But here I am, twenty-six years after my last final exam, involved in a mid-term. Yet the old anxiety isn't here, and I don't feel as if my self-worth is totally on the line. Instead, I wonder and worry about how Belle is faring.
I'm not sure what the protocol is about calling and asking about Belle. I hesitate to call for fear I'll fail some unwritten rule of foster home etiquette that will brand me forever as "that kind of foster home". (Please believe me when I say the insecurity here is all self-imposed - it is not a feeling that has been created by anything anyone at Helping Paws has said or done throughout this whole process).
If I could call and ask all the questions that have been rolling around inside me all week, I'd probably not ask the only one that really matters to me; isn't she a great dog? Because I know that each and every dog is a great dog. And the definition of great dog is as varied as the human with whom they relate. Instead - here's just a few of the reasons why I think she's a great dog.
- Her "joie de vivre"; from the moment she gets up to the moment she lays down at night, all her body language shouts, "yes, I'm alive - ain't life grand?" Another dog, another human, another cat, an unrecognizable creature all get the same boundless exuberance. Unless of course, she's wearing her pack. Then, it's just barely contained - with many looks to me to see if it's okay to let it loose.
- Her mental quickness; I know, I know, I called her a bratty brainiac last week, but honestly, do you think a neophyte dog person such as myself could have taught her all she's mastered in the last year or so. No way!
- The pure silkiness of her coat; for a tactile person like me she's a dream come true (I once went through an entire wing of the Vatican museum with my hands clenched behind my back so as not to reach out and touch the incredible tapestries hanging on the walls. Tapestries unprotected from those that either didn't know or didn't care that constant touching would destroy their beauty forever).
- Her eyebrows; the Spockish quality that she uses with such skill. Particularly at night after I somehow manage to fall asleep (yet again) on the couch. When I finally wake up to head up to a real bed, she looks up at me from her cozy place just below me with one eyebrow cocked as if to say, "I just got comfortable - and we're moving?".
- Social skills; I actually feel as if I have some when I'm with her. At the Human Race yesterday, it was so much harder to approach the runners after the race and hand them a Run and Romp brochure. And it was so much easier for the runners to ignore me without Belle by my side or scootching around to sit on their feet while gazing up at them with that adoring look that is impossible to resist - for even the most hardened of personal space protectors.
- She's Belle.