No one ever doubted that a wag of tail could win more friends than words could ever aggregate. Dogs for sure are as full of eager vigor as a mountain stream. Here in, my friend from the west, Summer Johnston, reminisces how her beloved pet helped her win over some truly great folks who otherwise would have been just a face in the crowd.
It is funny how sometimes, even though you are surrounded by swarms of people, you can feel completely and utterly alone. When I first moved back to New York City after living out of state for some time, I noticed that nobody on the street would look me in the eye. Everyone was rushing here and there, with a phone attached to their ear, or headphones playing their personal soundtrack into their ears. Even in my own little neighbourhood of Greenwich Village, I would see the same people day in and day out, but we never exchanged more than a small smile in passing. And then I met Oscar.
Oscar is my Wirehaired Pointing Griffon puppy. When I went to his mother’s home in New Jersey (my boyfriend at the time had dragged me to visit the dog after reading about the breed online) and saw her litter of pups, I instantly fell in love with a particular puppy. He was the one of the seven brothers and sisters that kept wandering off on his own, trying to take everything in, curious about every sight and sound and smell around him and further beyond how far his tiny paws could take him. A few weeks later, I trekked back to New Jersey, but brought Oscar home with me this time.
As with any new dog, it was difficult to train him and go through all the puppy antics. And it was hard living in a small apartment in the middle of the city — trying to run down flights of stairs to take him to use the bathroom, making sure to bring a plastic bag for cleanup every time we went outside, and not letting him bark because my neighbours would complain. But I soon realized how absolutely wonderful it was to have Oscar in the city. Before long, I knew all of my immediate neighbours’ names. I had friends at the dog park. I spoke with shop owners on my block, and on the blocks surrounding us, and they always said Hi when I would pass.
Oscar was not afraid of making friends, or introducing himself. In fact, he would wiggle his head into people’s walking path so that almost every stranger who walked past us on the side walk would inadvertently pet his head, then look down to see what that furry feeling came from. Soon, I’d be explaining what breed he was, then asking people where they were from, then introducing myself. Before Oscar, I was afraid to talk to people, worried they didn’t want to talk to me so I shouldn’t bother them. But Oscar knew that living beings need interaction. It warms the heart. I knew it every time a frowning, rushing person would be taken by surprise by Oscar’s head landing beneath their hand as they passed, and then seeing the person smile or giggle. Oscar never cared what someone looked like, or what they were wearing — like all dogs, he could just sense when someone needed to be talked to, and I simply followed suit. I am so thankful for my friendly little City puppy, who helped me to open up and taught me how to win friends I never would have met.