Not that I don’t love my kids, but perhaps the most starry-eyed, worshipful section of my book is devoted to our dog Uki. Uki is a 7-year-old yellow lab, a reject from Guiding Eyes for the Blind who is the most perfect pet I have ever had and possibly ever will have. And he is constantly raising the bar of perfect petdom, making it now nearly impossible for any other canine to ever fill his shoes (or paws, as it were).
The most recent example: On Friday night, I hatched a plan for the family to go out for an early dinner. The legendary Frank Pepe’s Pizza recently opened a restaurant not far from our house, and my husband suggested we go there. It was a beautiful night, the end of a workweek, and all was right in the world, which naturally is why I thought it was the perfect time to have a big fight with one of my kids. We won’t go into details, but suffice it to say it looked something like this: bored child + end of summer + willful ignoring of the one simple task Mom asks him to perform while she is at work + hours of watching Lord of the Rings instead on a beautiful summer Friday = Mom most definitely wants to kill you.
I’m sure one of the baby books has a whole chapter devoted to this, but as it turns out, Mom wanting to kill one of the children she gave birth to does not make for a happy family outing to Pepe’s. Which might be why the not-dead-quite-yet child forgot to close the front door as we flew out of the driveway without a backward glance. We were all too busy glaring at each other to notice that the door was open. And I don’t mean unlocked—I mean WIDE OPEN.
Dinner was not a complete disaster; leave it to perfect pizza to leaven the family mood. In fact, we had made amends by the time we returned home and were brainstorming how to spend the rest of the night. And that’s when we witnessed the canine heroics.
There are some dogs who would run away if the front door were left wide open for two hours. Other dogs might freak out and begin to eat the furniture. Others might think a wide-open door is nothing special, and let all manner of wildlife and burglars in without a thought. Not our Uki. When we pulled in to the driveway, Uki was sitting in the open doorway with his paws hanging over the front step. Waiting for us, keeping vigil, watching the traffic go by—who knows what was going through his big lab head. But by God he was going to sit there and make sure there was no monkey business while his people were away, and greet us enthusiastically when we returned.
My mother always said there is nothing more boring than people who brag about their kids. Even in this age of overparenting, I try hard to follow Mom’s example. But to you fellow dog owners out there, I hope you’ll indulge me for a minute. Where Uki is concerned, I just can’t help it.
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