We are currently traveling, and tonight, while my husband was out picking up dinner for the family, I took the dog out to stretch his legs and empty his bladder. As we walked out of the hotel from a side door, there was a rather big, burly man who must have come from a different hallway and exited seconds before. He looked at me, then looked at Wulfric and said, “That’s a . . . That’s a big dog.” Wulfric stared him down.
“Yeah,” I said, “he’s good sized.”
The burly guy continued on his way, and I continued on mine, and I felt perfectly safe.
As we got to the hotel’s designated dog lawn, there was another man, sitting in the back of his SUV, liftgate up, smoking a cigarette. I smiled at him and said, “Hi” with a little more friendliness than I normally would, because I felt perfectly safe. The man looked back at me and said nothing, and I continued on my way. Wulfric turned for a few seconds and silently stared the man down, and I felt safe.
I spent the next quarter of an hour or so walking and playing tug-of-war with my squishy-faced, horse’s arse of a dog on a lawn next to a hotel parking lot in a strange town at twilight by myself, and I felt safe.
This feeling of safety interests me because it made me realize just how unsafe I normally feel when I am outside of a locked home or hotel room by myself. I don’t need therapy to figure out why I normally feel that way. I know why I normally feel that way. I just didn’t realize how much I normally feel that way until tonight, when I didn’t. It was an incredible feeling to be able to be alone, if we don’t count the dog, and feel perfectly safe.
This dog drives me nuts. He injures me with his exuberance on a regular basis, counter surfs when there is no food in sight (or smell), and eats walls if left alone for more than a few minutes. But this dog? He loves his family. He watches over my kids. He stares down strange men in parking lots (and at my front door, for that matter). He stays close to his people. He doesn’t let anyone near us without a lot of coaxing and coaching, and, while I have generally been annoyed by this level of churlishness, tonight I realized he makes me feel safer than any dog I’ve ever had, and I realized how much I love feeling that safe.
Wulfric Brian Dumbledog, you’re a keeper.