"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." – Mark Twain, Letter to W D Howells, 4/2/1899

ALONE


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Alone but not lonely.

Everyone, especially small black dogs, needs time by themselves.

I’m lucky, I live very close to the ocean, so naturally my favourite place to be alone is walking along the beach. Sometimes, this presents a bit of a challenge. Firstly, I have to slip away from home without being noticed. My mistress doesn’t like me ‘wandering around’ as she calls it. Secondly, my friends know I love the beach so they often go there and look for me. I Like my friends, most of the time, but when I need to be alone I need to be alone. I usually have a short conversation and then tell them I need to be somewhere. That way no one gets their feelings hurt.

There is something about the sites, sounds and smells of the beach that puts my mind at rest. I feel like I can walk all day and all night. Of course I can’t, eventually my paws get sore, but you know what I mean.

Sometimes I find interesting things on these long walks.

I’m not really looking, but sometimes these little things find me.

I found a slipper once.

It was a bit soggy and covered in sand, and I wondered where the other one was. Also, what happened to the person who owned the slipper?

As you can see, when I go walking I have profound thoughts.

I played with the slipper for a little while, then I remembered that I needed to travel. That’s what we dogs call it, traveling. Humans call it going for a walk and I think they see it as a burden. We don’t, we love it. It’s not that we need to be anywhere it’s just that we love to travel.

If I have enough time and I know that my mistress will not miss me, I can walk all the way to the rocks at the far end of the beach.

It’s a special place.

At high tide, the waves crash over the rocks and make the most amazing sound.

At low tide, some of the water stays behind in the little pools. Some very tiny creatures like to live in those small pools. I wonder how they survive when the waves are crashing over them. At the very least they must get a headache. Sometimes I worry about them, but then I remember that they have their own lives to live.

I have to be careful when I’m playing on the rocks because the edges can be very sharp. I have cut my paw on more than one occasion and it makes for a very uncomfortable walk back to my home. Of course, I get a lot of sympathy from my mistress even though she is very angry with me for slipping away. I love it when she is in full-on nurse mode. I don’t much like having my paws bandaged, but I do enjoy the attention.

My mistress can sometimes be distracted for a very long time with her work and I get left out. She tries not to ignore me, but she is an artist and artists tend to disappear into their work. I love that she reads me her stories and asks me what I think. I love all her stories so I always bark with appreciation. She says I should be harder on her, but I can’t help it, I love her writing.

As I said, all sorts of things wash up on the beach and not just slippers.

Sometimes I bring things home to show my mistress, but I try to avoid the smelly things because she really doesn’t like that.

The happiest she has ever been was when I brought her home a small bottle which had a note inside.

The bottle had a cork in the top and my mistress said it was amazing that was still there. The note inside the green glass bottle was perfectly dry. My mistress said the hand writing was tiny and difficult to read without a magnifying glass. It was written by a young girl who lives many miles up the coast.

The little green bottle had been bobbling around in the water for more than a year.

My mistress wrote to the little girl and told her that she had found the bottle, which wasn’t strictly true because I found the bottle, but she said she didn’t mention me because she didn’t want to complicate things.

I don’t feel like a complication.

The little girl was very excited that someone had found her bottle and read her message. She was extra excited because the person who read the message was a famous author. My mistress put a special emphasis on the word ‘famous’.

She told me that she would take me to visit the little girl one day and introduce me as the person who found her bottle. I’m really looking forward to that journey and not just because I get to ride in my mistress’s car.

I like little girls.

They are fun to play with except when they try to dress me up.

A dog must have some dignity.

Hopefully, she won’t be that kind of little girl.

I’ve been searching through my collection of found objects because I want to take the little girl something special.

So far I have to choose between a large red button, an unusually shaped piece of driftwood, and one leg off the plastic doll.

I’m having terrible trouble deciding.

If it was me I would like the plastic doll leg, but I’m a dog and she’s a little girl so I’m not sure what she will like.

Maybe if I go for a long walk along the beach the answer will come to me.

Walking along the beach is a great place to think about stuff.

I wonder what I will find today?

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