I have a soft spot for folks with lonely souls, especially older folks.
I take my lab Bas to different locations to retrieve and to perform his drills everyday. Usually it is at a park or near some walking trails. A black lightning of a dog responding to hand signals and fetching like a madman will sometimes bring somebody over to watch, usually from afar. But true dog lovers will approach to talk sometimes. This morning an older gentleman , I would say around seventy-five, came over to visit. He had a pot belly and an old baseball cap on his head and a sweatshirt that had seen better days. He was out for his morning walk.
He wanted to tell me how much he liked my dog, but really, he just wanted to talk. He wanted to talk about his son in Arizona and the Australian Shepherd that his son has for his pet. And how the dog is so smart, and he taught him a trick on the first day that he met him and how the dog watches the old man with his paws under his chin , resting on the hassock. And how as soon as the old man clicks off the remote to the tv, the dog hops up to go outside. The man explained that he cant have dogs in his apartment bulding here in New Jersey, and you could see how much he wanted to own a dog again. He needed a dog. I said it sounds like you need to be in Arizona, and my sentence sort of just hung there without an answer.
He then told me how he grew up in Camden and had an Irish Setter when he was a little boy. Damn, he loved that dog. He said that his dad used to take the dog hunting and he would pray that nobody would shoot the dog by accident. One day his dad came home and said that he wasnt taking that damn dog hunting anymore,that the Irish Setter was flushing all the birds too early. He was so happy, and thought, good, good, my dog will be safe here with me.
And of course, eventually I had to go even though I wanted to talk to him some more, and I hoped that he would come by everytime that he saw me with Bas. I wanted him to know that he wasn't bothering me at all, that I'd much rather talk to him than hear a bunch of stuff from younger people about a bunch of stuff that they think is important but doesnt really matter. I didnt tell him that, of course, because I thought that it would come out sounding weird or something. I should have because it was so cool to me that when he remembered the past, he thought of his dogs and his dad and his son in Arizona. Thats what really mattered.
I watched him walk over to the edge of the river where a kid was fishing and start to talk to him also, probably about the fishing he did as a kid.