I'm looking around the big main room of the lodge, the room with the Santa-Claus-sized fireplace and hearth. I count seven dogs:
Pepper is a Blue Heeler.
Castle is a South African (short legged) Jack Russell Terrier.
Keesha is a German Shepherd.
Addie is a tiny Chihuahua/Terrier mix.
Toby is a Pharoah Hound.
Hank is a Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Sugar is a Cavalier Spaniel.
Today, I borrowed Addie. She had a chill and so I made a papoose-burnoose and held her until the shivering stopped. I found myself doing the rocking two-step from when my children were tiny. She was warmed and so was I.
Pepper loans herself to anyone who will pat her. She starts with a big lean, enough to knock you over, and relaxes into your side.
Castle, the Queen of the Pack, greeted my arrival at the airport with jumping wiggling happiness and kisses too. I had never been so welcomed. Since then, she deigns to sit in my lap, if I am respectfully grateful for the honor.
I have endeared myself to all by saving tiny scraps at the end of my meal and doling them out like a mother bird to her nestlings. I am working up to ignoring all the between-meal treat entreaties. Wish me luck.
Borrowing dogs makes for a gentle and loving vacation. I expect I will have some other adventures, but none so warm or so easy.
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images © diana ani stokely 2011