In January my little building of four apartments became the house of the white dogs. Our neighbors across the hall were dog sitting for two little white fluff balls. They were both smaller than Cricket, about the same size as Butterfly, and pure white rather than apricot laced. I first saw them out the window on a walk and my heart felt them right away. Two little white dogs! Two happy, skippy, barky dogs tangling their leashes and going in opposite directions. I felt like I knew them already.
We didn’t know their names at first, but we knew they were boys, because their pee was more decorative and higher up on the snow. Cricket and Butterfly would butt heads trying to be closest to the pee, to sniff deeply of their new friends.
The girls finally got to meet the boys in person after a few weeks. Their names were Abu and Fritz, and once they could see each other it was a sniff fest with no barking. When I’d met them the day before, Abu had bared his teeth at me and did not want to be friends, but when it was dog to dog, they were fine.
The boys barked almost as much as Cricket, which was an incredible relief. From downstairs, it was hard to tell which apartment was full of barking. I liked feeling welcomed each time we came and went from the apartment, as if the boys were saying that they wished they could go with us, and visit with Cricket and Butterfly, and enjoy our company. It was really just nice to know someone was there. Dogs are generous about noticing people, and making sure you don’t feel invisible or alone.
There are other dogs in our complex. There’s Maxine, the pug, who is very busy taking care of her new human brother. There’s Delilah, the beagle, who likes to hike up the hill but hates the snow. There are Chihuahuas and Cocker Spaniels, and other smallish dogs. I don’t know if there’s an official ban on bigger dogs, but I think it would be hard for a Great Dane to manage all of the stairs and small spaces.
I feel such a pull to see the other dogs who live here, especially when I can hear them barking from inside of their apartments when I take the girls out during the day. I dream of running around and opening all of the doors so we can have a puppy party in the backyard. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
I think the boys have gone now, because there is no more barking across the hall. I listen closely for a stray bark or growl, but I can’t hear anything.