Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boy meets dog

After a few steam baths and a minor exorcism, Kyle's brutal cold finally appears to have worn off. To celebrate this grand event, and the prospect of sleeping through the night this week, the family went to a party Sunday at the home of our friends Matt and Amanda. It was a lovely time. They had all the essentials: drinks, wings, and rice krispie treats shaped like robots. Kyle didn't have any of that stuff, of course, because he was our designated driver. There was something, though, that did interest him greatly: Matt and Amanda's dog, Bailey.

Bailey is a full-grown lab-beagle mix. He's an incredibly friendly dog, whom I've know since he was a little pup six years ago. These days he still often thinks he's a pup, so our main concern about visiting him was that he probably would try to jump on our little guy and lick him all over. Kyle had never met a dog before, and we weren't sure how he'd like having a face full of slobber that wasn't his own.

A short time after we arrived at Matt & Amanda's, we let our kid get close to Bailey. An excited Bailey ran up to Kyle, who was being held by Jennifer. Bailey was ready to play with him until he sniffed our little guy. For some reason - maybe it was a dirty diaper or Kyle's stinky feet - the dog suddenly became disinterested. Meanwhile, Kyle, who was hesitant at first, suddenly wanted to play. So, we put him on the floor, and he'd crawl towards Bailey or his chew toys, which Kyle mistook for the stuffed animals he owns. Fortunately we stopped him before he grabbed one and put it in his mouth.

Bailey just strutted around the circle of adults, going from one to another, completely trying to ignore the adoring child in the middle. At one point their paths intersected, and Kyle and Bailey actually knocked heads. The little guy laughed, while Bailey, obviously embarrassed by the collision, tried to act like it didn't happen, and continued on his path toward a chewed up piece of rope (which Kyle had tried to chew earlier).

To avoid further embarrassment, Bailey then roamed the apartment, keeping clear of Kyle’s path. He would lounge by the TV or try to negotiate some sort of "food drop" with party goers. Kyle, on the other hand, tried harder to get the dog’s attention. He’d make excited laughing noises every time he saw Bailey, and would try to jump out of the arms of the person who was holding him, giving Matt & Amanda’s guests an unexpected workout. Unfortunately, Kyle’s efforts were fruitless, and he ended up going home without a goodbye lick.

Kyle proved to be a dog lover that evening. I’m sure that night he dreamt of playing with Bailey in the park, perhaps throwing him a stick, grabbing his tail, or sharing a chew toy. Kyle probably didn’t matter as much to Bailey, who probably had dreams of Matt & Amanda’s guests throwing him food. I’m sure Kyle will get a second chance with Bailey, and I bet they’ll become friends someday. After all, Kyle’s not so bad once you get to know him.

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