How do you explain to a dog who sees the wall to wall sunshine from an air conditioned house that it is really too hot to walk? How do you explain to him that you have no A/C in the minivan because of an accident and he would get overheated when all he wants to do is go, go, go? And had been used to it.
My heart broke last night for Harrison, my beagle mix. Even standing in the oppressive heat as we loaded up to go to Pymatuning, he stubbornly held on to the hope he could go with us. Oh, with his black blanket coat, he'd have heat exhaustion. Those sad brown eyes, "Mom, why are you leaving me here?" "Ice cream?" A tinge of regret fleeted through me, yet, I knew he couldn't have tolerated the 97 degree weather. And stopping for food along the way would have been unbearable.
After we ate and didn't wait for food to digest, just dipped into that cool water, I know Harrison is afraid of the water. It holds no appeal to him. I guess no Lab in his blood. We tried as a puppy. He planted his feet on the shore. He cocked his head as the girls coaxed him as if to say, "Where's your body? What are you doing?"
One early fall day, Harrison and I walked on Jamestown beach. After cupping some water in my hands bringing it close to him, reticent, he drank. The gentle lapping of the minor waves unnerved him. That is the closest he got to lake water. He wants no part of it.
I still want to try to get the dog to enjoy the water with me, but just like last night, I knew the best thing is to leave him in the air conditioned house. I imagine him at the lake, maybe in the water with the heat driving him to it along with the desire to be with the girls and the boys, yet those eyes not hiding the discomfort of going against his nature. He'd want it done as soon as possible, like his bath. He stands there letting me wash him, but that look of reserve. "I could jump out, but I do want to please you. I don't understand."
How often are we kept from a seemed pleasure that when obtained would make our eyes sad?
Or plant our feet firmly on the edge of the shore not understanding the pleasure that awaits? The delight of coolness on a hot summer evening, the weightlessness of water?