Have you ever seem a more tired, worn out dog? That's what I thought when I first met him. He had a collar, but no name. This dog was, well, dog-tired. His head drooped, he moved slowly, stretching his long legs to somehow carry himself forward, one step at a time.
An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard when I was watering the red tulips and purple violet pansies. He was a big fella, some sort of English Pointer and Dalmatian mix, with the big long ears of a Basset Hound. I could tell from his collar and his well-fed belly that he had a home, as he was also well groomed and taken care of.
He calmly came over to me, sniffed my shoes and pant leg, then nuzzled his head against my hand. I gave him a few stroking pats on his head, and then scratched behind his ears in the way dogs often love. He was no exception, and gently but firmly pushed his head and ears into my fingers in reply. I led him into the house to get a water bowl for him. He then followed me into the kitchen, drank a bit, then slowly looked around and walked down the hall.
He found the old stuffed pillows we piled up in the corner, sniffed them a bit, then cautiously pawed at one or two to test them out. He seemed content and satisfied, then stepped on top the pillows carefully, and turned in a full circle before settling deeply right into the middle of them. He curled into a big ball, let out a sigh, and was asleep even before I turned away.
An hour later, he walked up to me as I was reading on the couch, and gently nuzzled my hand again. He led me to the front door, so I opened if for him, and he left as quietly as he had arrived.
The next afternoon he was back at about the same time. He greeted me in my yard again, much like an old friend. I opened the front door for him, and we headed into the kitchen for a drink of water like the day before. After drinking, he walked leisurely down the hall to the corner with the pillows. Repeating the same process I had previously witnessed, he curled up on the pillows and immediately entered a peaceful sleep.
The next day I was watching, expectantly, to see if he would return. He did not disappoint. It was within minutes of the same two previous times, just like clock work. The routine did not vary. A hand nuzzle and ear scratch. A drink of water in the kitchen. And a curled up nap in the hall corner.
The pattern continued day after day. He was content to sleep in my hallway, but clearly lived elsewhere. And with people who included him in their family and took good care of him.
Seeking to satisfy my curiosity, after two weeks I pinned a note to his collar: "I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful, sweet dog is, and also to ask, did you know that he comes over to visit me each afternoon, and spends an hour here taking a nap?"
The next day he arrived for his nap as usual. He had a note pinned to his collar, but it was on white paper, not the yellow pad note I had pinned onto him. I reached for it eagerly in hopes of a reply to my note.
"Thank you for welcoming him into your home. His name is Napoleon. He lives in a home with 6 children. 2 of the children are under 3 years old. I suspect he comes to visit you each afternoon for peace and quiet, and to catch up on his sleep."
"PS: Can I come with him tomorrow?"
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