Like so many boys have done before him, there came a day when my middle son, Mark, asked if he could bring a puppy home. A friend’s dog had given birth to beagle pups and she was looking to place them. Although we already had a household of dog and cat inhabitants, we told him that if he paid all the pet‘s expenses, he could take one. And so the friendship between Mark and Clayton began.
Quickly the two became the best of buddies. Whenever Mark was home they could be found cuddled on the living room couch watching SportsCenter together on TV. Apparently Mark had picked a puppy that loved sports of all kinds as much as he did…or perhaps Clayton quickly learned that the way to this boy’s heart was through the TV remote, and so he became a fan on the spot.
Through the years they have shared a lot more than just their spot on the sofa. Microwaved meals, romps around the living room, movie nights and video game marathons with visiting friends, as well as trips to the local state park to swim in the lake have filled their stomachs and their days…and also their hearts with love for one another.
But men of Mark’s age rarely stay home for long. His life in recent years has been filled with transitions to first college and then jobs in different states, interspersed with periods of living at home for varied lengths of time. Clayton has handled the separations with amazing grace, hanging with his canine buddy in his homosapien’s absence, and rarely leaving Mark’s side whenever he happens to walk through the door once more.
Because pictures are the best way to hold memories of loved ones near, I have tried to capture his dog in funny or heartwarming poses to include in my letters to my son, but Clayton is as uncooperative as they come. Apparently traumatized early on in life by a camera’s flash, he now runs for the door the minute so much as a cell phone is pointed in his direction. Even the recent singing of the Happy Birthday song at a celebration for a family member had him running for the basement, as he seemed to know that a photo session was sure to follow.
That’s why the picture above of these two guys I love makes me smile so, and why it graces the side of my fridge, to keep those smiles coming in Mark’s absence. He had just walked in the door on a recent visit, and while Clayton was distracted with the welcome-home love fest, Mark quickly pulled out his phone and aimed, the unvoiced “Gotcha!” expressed in the quick click of the camera.
The message from his heart was clear: You may be nothing but a hound dog…but you’re a very good friend of mine.
The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances. If there is any reaction, both are transformed.
- Carl Jung
- Carl Jung