I already know what’s going to happen. I tiptoe upstairs, don my running gear, tiptoe back down, hoping to slither past the sleeping dogs in front of the fireplace. After their morning rituals and ruckus, the house was quiet.
I make it to the back door ready to bolt and there he is, staring at me. Devo’s head cocked up, his eyes fixed on me, he knew where I was going.
I crack the door and squeeze through, gently nudging him aside. I hear him whine with a dramatic last ditch scratch down the masonite door. I’m in the garage and out, pretending not hear, hitting the roads for a much needed work break run. The fickle Houston weather is playing it’s games once again, the air is sticky and temperatures are pushing 80. This is December, not June! My legs feel as heavy as the thick layer of moisture descending on me. I try to conjure the energy to find my groove.
I schlep along but it doesn’t take long to figure out that this run isn’t going to happen. I turn and circle back to the house. What was I thinking? I need to get my little munchkin-faced pooch, Devo. The one with the symmetrically placed black dot of fur between his ears. The one with the oversized watermelon head and svelte, Dalmation-like body. My pitbull mix. A giant love muffin of goodness. Named after the unique, highly visual iconic rock band of the seventies and eighties, DEVO. Appealing to the tribes of unique outsiders, my Sheriff Devo was one of these, an outlier, judged by his looks and disregarded by the masses. I fell in love with this unique looking guy at the shelter, his loving nature winning me over. He needs this run more than I do today.
He’s still at the door when I come in. He knows the routine, trying to contain his excitement while I quickly harness him and head out. His floppy ears perk as high as they can, like wilted flowers seeking the sun. His posture stately, on high-alert, his body coming to life. His enormous jaw unfurls and I think to myself, if this isn’t a grin, then I don’t know what is. And now, I’m smiling, my doldrum-ridden morning finally takes a turn. I feel the endorphins kick in, the rise in serotonin. His happiness is seeping into me and I’m feeling it. He adusts his strides and sinks in to my slower pace, just happy to be outside.
Little did I know that the same dynamic that brings me consistent joy, witnessing and taking part in the happiness of others, applies to Devo as well. I can revel in his joy just like I do with my family and friends, and at times, even savoring it with strangers. Such a simple concept, a guarantee for constant happiness throughout my life, present every single day. Yes, we all know the fleeting joy of random experiences, but I’d rather have the former any day. The unfettered heart and mind of Devo brings me this today. In fact, he brings it to me every day and I cringe at my selfishness in not returning it to him, not taking part in his playtime, doing what he loves. His body and expressions tell all and today he’s sharing his joy with me.