The Neighborhood Dog


The Neighborhood Dog

Jeff Pinyot
My 26-year-old daughter, Caroline, (she’s single guys, and beautiful) has introduced us to something I vowed would never happen in my life. It’s a dog. I’m kind of a neat person so the concept of a shedding, slobbering, drooling dog scratching my wood floors and laying on a couch or bed, fully exposed, made my skin crawl. But I was wrong! Oakley does all those things above, except he doesn’t shed because he’s a Goldendoodle. The big variety, if you are wondering about his size. 


Let’s get to the question in all of your minds right now. Why does my daughter still live with me at age 26? She doesn’t. She has her own apartment, but she leaves my grand-dog at the house for days on end sometimes to fit into her work schedule. When Oakley comes to visit “Poppy,” he enters Heaven because he leaves a small apartment with no yard to Poppy’s big house on a cul-de-sac and a big yard to run in.


As a former lacrosse coach, I have a secret to share with you all. I hate throwing slobbery balls for Oakley to chase and return over and over again. Instead, I use a lacrosse stick to throw the balls. He drops the ball right in the head of the stick and my hands stay dry and my overused rotator cuff doesn’t get fatigued or challenged either. 


Since Oakley isn’t our dog, we don’t have an invisible fence or a geo-collar to keep Oakley in the yard. The second he sees a neighbor kid or a neighbor dog, he takes off running to greet them which results in him knocking them down and jumping all over them. He is just a child of two, but he has a heart of gold.


Once Oakley entered our lives and our neighbors’ lives, something miraculous happened. Four neighbors who have had to endure Oakley have now gone and adopted Goldendoodles of their own. A small doodle name Oden lives across the street, two big doodles named Archer and Luca on either side of us, and another one besides Oden I haven’t had the privilege of meeting yet. All boys and all doodles. 


The unpretentious, non-judgmental ways of Oakley give me pause (pun intended) to look in the mirror and say (I know this will sound stupid, but): “What can I learn from Oakley?” I mean, I’ve been these peoples’ neighbor for some time, and I’ve not had much impact on their lives. What Oakley is selling SELLS! If I could duplicate the effectiveness of Oakley in my relationships both personal and in business, I’d have solved one of the mysteries of the world. 


What did the neighbors see and experience in Oakley that they would sign up for adding a hot mess into their already busy homes with young children and overworked spouses? Somewhere in the chaos of Oakley is Connection and Acceptance, what we all need and many of us are lacking and looking for. The mess is a reminder that Oakley is there, and he will stand on his hind legs and greet you the minute you walk inside the house no matter what. It used to be your spouse, then your kids greeting you, but now it’s your daughter’s dog. No matter, it’s a thrill and it’s medicine for the soul. 


We’ve been a cat family forever. Sherlock, a feral cat we rescued years ago, slumbers all over the house sitting on tables like Snoopy gazing over his kingdom from the top of his doghouse. Sherlock is the real King of the House and that’s not up for debate. BUT I’m sensing that Sherlock is starting to like Oakley, too. The hissing is almost gone. I snuck out of the bedroom in the middle of the night this week to find Sherlock and Oakley roaming the house side by side, keeping watch, protecting the ones who feed them and the ones they love. 


I never understood the “man’s best friend” moniker attached to a dog, but I’m beginning to get it. There really is something magical, almost spiritual, about the relationship between a dog and those who care for it. They protect you; they honor you, and they make you feel good about yourself. They don’t hold grudges; they tend to only remember the good things. They also apologize by offering a paw and a sideways glance. 


For our home, it is nice to get a reprieve when Oakley actually stays with his mommy. But it does feel like something is missing when I don’t see his big head looking out the window of the door to the garage, saying, “Poppy, where have you been? Let’s play lacrosse!”


I thought I’d never endorse dog ownership, let alone actually write a column on a dog. As readers of this article, you will have the sense to keep this to yourself and never tell Sherlock that I wrote this; it would simply kill him.


The only thing worse than me writing an article about a dog is that you just read the entire article. I guess Oakley is already having an impact on you, as well. I promise I won’t write an article on the cat. He has already instructed me that it’s off the table, but of course, he is on the table…. again. 

Article contributed by:
Jeff Pinyot, ECO Parking Technologies
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