54. I Shall Not Want

Dear Tera,

            The Alpha is my master.  I shall not want.  He makes me lie down and sit.  He leads me beside the river where I can chase ducks.  He restores my water dish.  He guides me on the sidewalks where there are no cars.  Even though I walk though the valley of the shadow of humanoids who don’t like dogs, I fear no evil for he is with me.  He prepares kibble before me in the presence of other dogs.  He has brushed my fur, and given me dog treats.  Surely I will be a good dog all the days of my life and I will dwell in Alpha’s house forever.

            Inspiring words, eh?  Kind of makes you feel at peace with the park.  There’s more where that came from.  Only in Alpha is my soul at rest, my strength and my salvation.  Or, how about: the neighbourhood is Alpha’s and the fullness thereof.

            But you know, as much as we all love our alphas, and as much as I am utterly devoted to my Alpha, there are times when I experience transcendence. 

            I feel it when we walk the Pup to the pup kennel in the morning, or pick him up at the holding pen in the afternoon.  (The holding pen is that red-roofed building down the street from the pup kennel.  It tends to be much noisier.  The pups are always throwing balls at one another, but never toss balls for dogs.  On the other hand, there is this absolutely wonderful humanoid female who always has dog treats for me in a drawer in her office.  But I digress...)

            When I walk the neighbourhood, I can count on all the pups coming over to pat me and give me the attention that is my due.  Many of them now know me by name.  They know my routines.  And Alpha sometimes gives them dog treats with which they can pay me the proper level of respect.

            And it occurs to me that maybe in this cosmos, I’m not just Alpha’s dog.  I’m not just Alpha and the Pup’s dog.  There is a trinity.  Alpha, Pup, and Neighbourhood.

            This feeling grows in me as the routines of my life unfold the way they should, day after day, as we walk the streets of this neighbourhood.  There are some places where I am allowed to go in with Alpha.  Some of them even have dog treats – the video store and the dry cleaners, for example.  The dry cleaners is full of lovely humanoids who make a great fuss over me.  The video store is full of humanoids who are too busy studying the pictures on boxes to pay proper respect for a handsome and well behaved dog.  But both places have great dog treats.

            And then there are other places where I am not allowed inside.  I divide these into two categories.  First, there are the places where Alpha ties me up.  This happens if he is going to be inside for some time.  The pup kennel is one such place.  Another is the fence at the edge of the great car desert on the other side of the river.  There you will find a big building that has many stores. Dogs are not allowed inside, and so Alpha will tie me up to the fence where, now that the weather is warm, humanoids come out to sit and drink their coffee.  This is a very fine place.  I get a lot of attention here.

            Then there is the building where Alpha must tie me up to the lamp post at the corner of the building.  I hear loud music inside.  I hear humanoids barking orders: “Jump squats!” or “Push ups!” or “Jab, jab, hook, hook, front kick, cross!”  I watch adult humanoids and pups come and go.  The pups seem to be dressed in heavy cotton pajamas of either white or red.  They’re usually in a bit of a rush and don’t have much time for dogs waiting on the sidewalk.  So I play the game of “Made Ya Look.”  I bark and whimper and whine, and if someone comes out of the building to see what the fuss is about, I score points.  If Alpha comes out to chastize me, I score double points. 

            That’s the one category of buildings I’m not allowed to enter.  The other category is buildings where Alpha doesn’t bother to tie me up.  He’s usually inside only for a few moments or, in the case of one coffee shop, there are so many windows that I can easily see inside to make sure that he is not getting into trouble – being attacked by a rogue band of squirrels, for example. 

            It is at these places, in particular, I begin to transcend and become One with the Neighbourhood.  It occurs to me that, as they come and go, the humanoids are not surprised to find a dog waiting outside.  They accept me as part of the charm of this community.  They have come to think of me as the collective dog – the one that everyone knows, and that everyone who is so inclined can come to pat.  I wish more of them would think of me as the dog that everyone can give a treat to, but they are not that highly evolved yet.

            And it comes to me that there is a unity to the Neighbourhood, under the loving light of Alpha himself.  Yes, Alpha is in the house, and all is right with the hood.    

                                                I shall lift mine eyes up to Alpha whence cometh my help,