Sometimes seeing a dog or cat that looked at you long ago can bring back powerful and warm memories. The animal you see is definitely not your beloved drunkard or Rex or Mr. Ratkiller (don’t ask). But they certainly look like them, don’t they? One reason for this is that some breeds are not only very similar in appearance, but they can also be very similar in behavior and temperament to the animals you remember. And this is often intentional on the part of breeders. They want to sell dogs that are gentle and kind to children, or have more vocal defects that interact more with other animals and are better suited for farm and ranch work.
The point is, the animal that reminded you, you can carry on those memories in the same way that you remember the animal. The best dog I ever had was a black lab mix called Violet. He had no idea with me, but he couldn’t be such a part of the mix of dogs … aside from the white socks on his feet, he looked like an AKC winner. And she acted like almost every lab I am … smart, curious, energetic, caring, protective and sometimes … happy. Violet will carefully and circumspect the entire circumference of the chain-link fence around our house. If someone was walking in a car or someone was riding a bike, they were walking as if an army of bears were charging through the doors and only they were standing between us and the people around . Yes, this wolf was a force to which he belonged and was serious. And then … a butterfly will pass in front of him. Violet immediately came out with a happy YIP! And turn back. Then it placed its front legs and, staring at the butterfly, tilted its head to the edge as the claws pressed into the ground on its back. It makes me smile, to think that it was a dinosaur with different front and back brains working at the same time but independent of each other. I don’t know the claws of your left leg, tell me what your right foreleg I think.
I was thinking about all this last week because of the red light while I was out of town. I approached an intersection and when I stopped I saw a girl, the age of a UF student, waiting to cross the street. It was a black lab on a leash and I immediately thought of a good violet. They started going to the intersection and as soon as my car came close, a big green dragonfly climbed on my hood. And suddenly he was watching an old house movie … Black Lab jumped, jumped back, and cut off his head while standing in the middle of the street watching Dragonflies. The hind legs were not picking up dirt, but they certainly scraped the asphalt. The girl was laughing and I was very nervous about it. He managed to drive the dog away, but he kept staring at my hood until the end. It lives happily until a bug erupts or someone’s alertness breaks the mite’s enclosure. Violet left us years ago, but that moment reminds me that she has cousins around her who bring as much joy to her human peers as Violet has always given us. We miss you and love you, spinner.