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Published: September 26th 2021
I think of dogs as being a lot like men. As with men and with dogs, I have a definite “type.” You know, that look, personality or demeanor that I gravitate toward even though I like most all dogs and men. I bet you have a type also, if you think about it.
Do you like tall, dark and handsome or short and fluffy? Do you like the ones that want to sleep on the couch all day or the ones that want to go to the park and play fetch? Do you want one that is tiny enough you can place it in your purse or one that is big and loyal and will protect you to it’s death? Do you like ones that are cuddly and sweet or ones that are maybe a bit aloof and dedicated to their profession? Do you prefer ones that yip a lot or ones that barely make a sound? Do want them to know commands and tricks or ones that just want to cuddle?
In both men and dogs I have a type, but in this moment I am only thinking in the dog world. I promise.
It was our last day in Kakheti and I got up early to soak up the last few moments of the vineyards, countryside and the gorgeous park of Tsinandali. My goal was to find a nice little spot to do some journaling, but took a few side routes because I cannot resist an opportunity to explore. I walked up to a lookout point that was several stories above the cafes and coffee shops. I stopped to watch the employees preparing for breakfast and noticed some puppies and adult dogs frolicking about among the tables and chairs.
Dogs roaming freely had become a common sight in Georgia and one that was not alarming because they all looked healthy and cared for despite their seemingly homelessness. In Tbilisi alone, we were told, there are tens of thousands of dogs that roam freely. They wear ear tags that indicate they have been vaccinated, had health check ups and had been fixed. I was not surprised by seeing this group of dogs, but what caught my attention was that it seemed like one of the dogs was watching me like a hawk. It was as if she was
tracking my movement as I walked along the platform. Could they even see me way up here? Am I just missing my own dog and imagining things?
Without giving the situation much more thought, I continued to walk toward the staircase to take me down so that I could ultimately find that perfect spot for writing in my travel journal. The moment my foot touched the final step, I was startled by this little dog patiently sitting at the foot of the stairs as if she were waiting for me. She seemed relaxed and pleasant, almost as if she was smiling, and as though she knew to expect me at that very moment. I gave her a proper greeting, met her friends and continued on my way.
As you may have predicted, I did not continue on my way alone.
The little ring leader and her gang followed me around as I explored, her puppies played with the hem of my skirt and all of them accepted the occasional pat on the head. When I settled in to do some writing, the dogs all settled in under my table, laid down
and kept me company the entire time I worked. They then followed me to breakfast, slept under my feet and did not beg even when I was eating bacon! (They did not mind when I ”accidentally“ dropped some, but they never begged.)
After breakfast, was the dreaded moment of leaving this luxurious and serene place. We walked to the hotel to check out and the ring leader dog followed while the others stayed to play in the courtyard. I gave her a pat and walked in the hotel. Looking over my shoulder, I could see she was following me into the hotel. I scurried along and played stupid in hopes no one would notice. As I returned from check out and started toward the front door, I could see the bell man had shut the door (probably so no dogs would enter), but there at the door, waiting patiently with her nose pressed to the glass and with an eager look on her face was this same little dog.
I opened the door and she greeted me as if I had been gone for weeks and she had missed me. A little taken aback
by her response, I matched her excited greeting and then told her goodbye. As I walked to the car to leave, there she was right at my heels, not missing a step. Ultimately, the driver had to hold her back so that she did not get in the car with me.
Her response reminded of my childhood dog named Lightfoot. She escorted me to the school bus each morning and the patient bus driver would get out and hold Lightfoot back until I was safely on the bus. The driver would shut the door and Lightfoot would sit at the end of our gravel driveway until the bus was out of sight. She was always taking care of me and would be sitting at the end of the driveway in the afternoon when she heard the bus approaching at the end of the school day.
This little dog’s affection and instant attachment was so endearing and unexpected, I genuinely felt sad leaving her behind. I have no idea what tugged at my emotions, but I practically had to fight off the tears as our car left her standing in the driveway. The most interesting
part of the story, this dog was definitely not a dog that would fit my “type,” but she absolutely touched me in a way I am not even sure I can explain.
The moral of this story? I do not know. Maybe we are just open to more experiences and feelings when we are traveling and away from our comfort zone. Maybe we shouldn’t get too hung up on what we believe is our “type.” Maybe the universe uses signs to give us some sort of message or assurance. Maybe that dog acts this way to some new guest everyday as her sort of welcome wagon job. Or maybe it was just a silly moment. I do not know.
**For more stories and photos about our travels, please follow along on Facebook at Valeri Crenshaw and on Instagram at Valerispassport!***
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