Lenny the seven-month old Yorkie who had been staying with me and Sadie went home. We dropped him off at his neighboring house when we went on our walk after work. His family was happy to see him and he ran around greeting everyone. Sadie was a reluctant hostess at first, but I think she was flattered at how much Lenny adored her and followed her everywhere. He even started going up and down the stairs on his own by following Sadie.
I guess like mother…like dog daughter. Lenny’s parents and I didn’t hit it off exactly smoothly in the beginning. Our subdivision is small and in many ways we are like a big family, complete with disagreements as well as moments of real appreciation for our neighbors. Lenny was not part of the family when they bought their house on our street. To make a long story short, suffice it to say we both did some things that were a source of irritation to each other. After a particularly bad snow storm when I slid into one of their vehicles, we exchanged words that were not even close to cordial, we no longer spoke and there was a feeling of uneasiness.
I’d walk by their house almost daily with Sadie and if they were in the yard, they’d get busy with something, and I’d look the other way. Then one day this tiny ball of fur ran into the street as they began calling his name to come back and I scooped him up. It was Lenny…a miniature Yorkie with the sweetest face that just made me smile and hold him close.
His Mom walked over to the edge of the yard and thanked me as I handed him to her. I asked if he was a new dog and she explained that their previous dog had gotten hit by a car where they used to live and how they’d gotten Lenny. As we chatted about our dogs, the tension slipped away and I don’t know who spoke first, but I know we apologized for the rough times we’d had. I admitted to being a type A+ lawyer personality who might possibly seem abrasive at times. She admitted she said some things to me at the accident that she was sorry for. We both agreed maybe we were *&#%’s… not as in a female dog which made us laugh. It was a healing laugh and I knew things would be better, but had no idea how great that would be.
They asked me to keep Lenny while they took a well deserved vacation and although I know Sadie is a single dog diva, and I’m not too fond of house guests myself, I overcame all that and said yes. Through Lenny, we’ve come to know each other as people who are not perfect. We’ve both had loss in the past; we’ve worked hard and have travelled many paths that led us to be neighbors in the wooded subdivision we love and are happy to call home.
Lenny taught us some very important lessons. Don’t be so quick to judge. Be more tolerant of things that in the long run won’t count in the big picture of life. Every person has a story behind what you see and that story could have many of the same plot lines as your own life. People are different and those differences can be blessings to you and a way to see and understand things you might never know otherwise.
Lenny and Sadie are very different, but they put their differences aside and resided together under one roof, ate next to each other, and jockeyed for positions close to me on the couch. Dogs are just much smarter than their human parents. I try to be more like Sadie and sometimes I fail, but when I succeed my life is much better. I learned a long time ago from Sadie…don’t hold grudges…but I, after all am human and forget. Thankfully I have her around to remind me of these things and I have Lenny and his parents to share these lessons.
When we got back from our walk Lenny’s absence loomed large. Even AbiGal our cockatiel seemed to notice he was gone. He’d stood in front of her cage mesmerized by her and she was fascinated by him. I found a few of his little possessions and put them in a bag by the door to return. Sadie sniffed them and leaned against me…we missed him. Lenny doesn’t run into the street anymore, but I’m glad I was there on the day that he did. And now, I don’t need an excuse to stop and chat with his family; thanks to our dogs… we’re friends.