This dog has taught me to appreciate baby steps, and the step forward after the two steps back. He has shown me just how popular cat statues and monuments are in Brunswick, because for the first week, he was transfixed by all of them. Cat mementos are more popular and lifelike than I had ever considered, and for a while made every stroll an extended nightmare of arm-wrestling and sighs.
I gush uncontrollably when he stops to smell something in the gutter, and takes forever to inspect fallen branches in Methven Park. I can’t bear to correct him when he drags his muzzle along parked cars, smelling them, because smelling means he’s using more than his eyes to process the world.
He has started to develop the kleptomania I had read so much about, and which is so much cuter when he doesn’t realise he has an audience. He ripped the cover off my book by doing turns on my bed, where he wasn’t meant to be allowed. He suddenly pounces on toys that for he hadn’t acknowledged for the previous 3 weeks. He follows me into the shower, opening the door if I don’t invite him in, and lies on the floor, occasionally sighing with frustration. The shadow of his nose poking the shower curtain, and the dark little dots that mist and water leave on the dark parts of his face. The way women always comment on his eyeliner. The way old men always look approvingly at me, before some abhorrent comment about greyhound racing. The way kids love his little bootie, and are never scared of his muzzle until their parents panic and pull them away.
How, whenever I forget, the white hairs on everything I own remind me that he’s at home, asleep, probably oblivious to how much I love him. I don’t know how anybody can foster dogs and not be completely destroyed by it.