Met a dog last week

My friend Andrea and I were walking through the Village, when we encountered Atticus. Although he had the face of a Lab, he was much more massive than a Lab. He was, in fact, a Great Pyrenees. A Great very fluffy white Pyrenees. He was walking alongside his person, a calm, elegant young woman named Campbell (“Like the soup,” she said).

Impressed at his breed, I told Atticus, “You’re a rescue dog.” Campbell said that actually she had rescued him. From where? “From Texas,” she said. Oh yes. She had saved him from Texas and was therefore a very good person.

“I hope he’s grateful,” I said.

“He has many opinions about it,” Campbell said, and talks to her all the time. Does he offer those opinions in a Southern accent? “Not yet.” I was pretty sure he’d already dropped the south for a New York accent. Good dog.

How old was Atticus? “Four,” Campbell said, “but he walks like he’s fourteen.” And he did, a slow shuffle, like a 90 year old in assisted living. At that point, I noticed he was leaning up against Campbell’s legs, as if he couldn’t manage to stand any longer. Or maybe we were boring him.

Campbell said he was looking for the dog treat she was holding in her right hand. She showed us the treat. Atticus paid no attention. Now, most dogs, when eager for a dog treat, will do that looking-into-their-person’s-face with awesome plaintivity, panting as if their lives depended on that treat. Atticus was the coolest character I’ve ever seen. He turned his huge head away from Campbell and gazed out at the street as if he didn’t care about treats.

As it happens, Andrea makes dog treats. Small treats for small dogs and big ones for dogs like Atticus. Ergo, an Andrea-Campbell conversation ensued, with cards and names and contact info being exchanged.

Atticus gave a good impression of someone who didn’t give a damn. Treats? What’s a treat?

We all said goodbye. Except Atticus. He stood there, gazing outward. A stoic.

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