Henry walks into the café on all fours, panting and drooling, in the dog days of summer. His body is rock-solid, his mind is in the moment and his soul gongs like a bell. Low to the ground, sweating through the soles of his feet, this canine zen master expertly steers his honker and undulating tongue, lapping crumbs and mopping the old, wooden floor.
My heart stirs in my tank top.
Henry’s father Dwayne sits down with a coffee, breakfast sandwich and the daily bad news. Henry splays his roasting hulk on the floor below him, his cork-screwed ass brushing Daddy’s tattooed leg.
My writer brain slows.
I drop to the floor on my hands and knees, until I am face-to-face with my hyperventilating bulldog crush; my itchy fingers reach out to paw the punch-drunk glory of his mashed, seen-it-all mug. A shiny string of drool hangs under his jowls, swinging from his thin, black lips, glistening in the fiery sun. I croak
He looks into my eyes, into me and sees it all: my worries, fears, my pounding heart and roaring fire. I look into his.There are no words. I fall into the cool mountain lake of his soft, brown eyes. I sink into the moment, and dissolve.
POSTSCRIPT: Dwayne turned me on to the fascinating research of an American scientist who wanted to know if his dog actually loved him or just wanted to score his next meal.
Dr. Brian Hare built a mock-up of an MRI machine and trained his pooch to sit in it for twenty minutes, strapped down so he wouldn’t move. When the dog was ready for the real MRI, he was given a swab of the doctor’s (his Daddy’s) smell. What happened inside his skull is what dog lovers worldwide already know: the love and attachment area of his doggy brain, the same part of the brain in humans – lit up – proving for once and for all the interconnectivity between people and dogs. Now, I know for sure that when Henry looks into my eyes and I look into his, we both feel the hug.
In tribute to the joy that Henry and his step-sister Victoria bring everyone they meet, I shot HOT DOGS, my first video for the internet, in one overheated take, with the help of the sibs and my in-house music composer. Please put on your headphones or speakers to get the full effect of their panting, drooling glory. Support BTF, spread the love and share, share, share!
Enjoy more stories about the unforgettable characters I get to meet in My Café, a new series about the very special place where I am privileged to write.
Special thanks to Dwayne Albert for his patience and good humor.
For more about Dr. Hare and Dognition, click here.
FAN THE FLAMES: Please help us buy Henry a bouquet of treats at the schmancy pooch store next door. He deserves the best.
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GOOD NEWS FLASH: I am thrilled to introduce you all to my crack, new collaborator; the whip-smart, bright delight Nicola O’Dwyer. Nicola is helping me grow Burns the Fire in every which way and I pinch myself that she’s by my side (virtually, as she currently lives in Dublin). So much happening, so much we can’t wait to share! Stay tuned.
Speaking of fabulous women, meet the Radical Brownies…
In California, a new breed of Brownie is learning about social justice instead of sewing, empowering young girls marginalized by the mainstream.
Radical Brownies are baddass. Tell your girls and click here to learn more.
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