Dog Day After Pool
"You must come by to see our dog," Celine announced nonchalantly, as we sipped our frosty beverages by the pool, “He's even on a raw diet.”
I mustered a polite grin, stuffed a fistful of Cheeze Doodles into my gaping mouth, and lied, “Of course, I'd love to see your poochie," immediately regretting my choice of words. Poochie? I'm such an idiot, why didn't I just say dog?
Because you're an idiot, my subconscious reminded me again.
“I'm sure you’ll love Braveheart,” Celine said.
Phew, I thought, she didn't catch that faux pas. Saved again by talking with my mouth full.
See what I mean? My subconscious chimed in.
“Braveheart? Such an interesting name,” I said.
Braveheart is such a ludicrous name for what I anticipated would be another fluffy white pseudo-designer dog. Yet, for a mother juggling the joys of raising four precocious young girls, a ninety-six-ounce cuddle baby, is practically a match made in heaven, especially when dear old Papa is Mr. Frequent Flyer.
"Yes, you see, we thought we'd grace him with a name befitting a seasoned hunter. After all, he's an Irish wolfhound,” Celine explained.
"What? I mean, what?" I went totally mental, jumping up and down like a toddler doing the I-can't-hold-it-in-any-longer jig. Too much excitement to contain: an Irish wolfhound, a creature that has graced my dreams, tantalizingly out of reach for a medley of reasons too long to list.
And then there's Celine, posh Celine, mother of four, and proud custodian of a canine as majestic as an Irish wolfhound. Can you imagine? She even brought the dog along on vacation.
"Just wondering. Why a werewolf and not a pug or poodle?"
"Hahaha Dave, you're quite the joker. It's a simple story: Hubby and our youngest daughter, Celeste, thought that a great big huggable hound would be a splendid idea. To be quite frank, it was an impulse buy. That's my hubby, Thurston, for you, sometimes it's a pack of Skittles, other times it's an Irish wolfhound.”
Intriguing, I thought. What sort of magical spells do dogs possess, weaving their enigmatic charms over us? And why are we so willing to upend our lives for them?
I followed Celine back to the apartment and when she opened the door, there stood Braveheart in all his glory. A gory clip from A Werewolf in London flashed through my head.
“When you say that he eats raw, Celine, you don't mean humans?”
“Hahaha, Dave, you amuse me! Bravie's a big pussycat. He wouldn't hurt a fly.”
Apparently, "Bravie" agreed, judging by the sonic blast of his bark which knocked me off my feet, much to the amusement of Celine, who I'd been trying in vain to impress all morning.
"You see," Celine continued, her eyes sparkling with a mix of pride and exhaustion, "Braveheart serves multiple roles. He's a guardian, a playmate, a vacuum cleaner for leftovers, and the perfect excuse for a brisk stroll when the kids are bickering and I need to get out of the house.
I couldn't help but chuckle at the thought of this noble hound living the life of a suburban superhero, rescuing socks and chasing away invisible monsters. As we chatted, Braveheart lay sprawled at Celine's feet, his massive head resting on her glossy pedicured toes.
"Quite the captivating presence," I mused, giving Braveheart an appreciative nod.
Celine laughed softly, "Indeed, though I must admit, sometimes his size works against him. There was that one time he mistook an iddy biddy puddy cat for a chew toy.”
I laughed nervously. "A squeaky one?"
Celine's eyes twinkled, "You're such a naughty boy!."
I was about to say something but gulped some air instead. There was no way I could reply to that remark without getting myself in trouble.
The afternoon sun continued its relentless assault on the pool deck, and as the shadows grew longer, I found myself immersed in a world that seemed to blend reality with the surreal. Here I was, sipping yet another frosty summer beverage in the presence of a regal canine named Braveheart, whose very existence defied the boundaries of my imagination.
As the day waned, Celine's youngest daughter, Celeste approached, her tiny hands gripping a leash almost as tall as she was. "Mom, can I walk the dog now?"
Celine smiled warmly, "Of course, Sweety. But be gentle, he's a sensitive baby."
The little girl's eyes widened as she looked up at Braveheart. With a determined nod, she took her first steps, and the scene played out like a Rockwell painting -- a pint-sized adventurer leading a towering wolfhound across the pool deck.
"He'th tho cute,” Celeste declared. If there's one thing cuter than a chubby freckle-faced kid with chocolate ice cream dripping down their face, it's one with pigtails and a lisp.
As I watched this slice of life unfold, I couldn't help but marvel at the connections we form with creatures that, by all accounts, should be outside the scope of our everyday lives. Braveheart wasn't just an Irish wolfhound; he was a bridge between Celine's family and a world of untamed wilderness. He was a reminder that even amidst the mundane routines of suburban existence, a touch of the extraordinary can find its way into our hearts.
And so, as the sun dipped below the horizon and the poolside lights flickered to life, I raised my chilled glass to the enchanting tale of Braveheart the Irish wolfhound – a story that had woven its way into the tapestry of my summer memories, forever intertwining the ordinary with the magical.
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