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On Friday, I had the opportunity to join the Zip Dogs as they traversed Funston. I got to meet Moo, Mister Jones, and Max, who were by now little celebrities in my doggie world. I came away with sore glutes and several observations as I meditated on my experience of four joyful pups and two happy humans enjoying the sandy side of San Francisco.
Let me share with you my favorite: As I struggled to throw myself vertically up a wall of sand, watching in embarrassment as the rest of the group effortlessly bounded away, Ace inevitably would hang back from her pack and wait for me. She didn’t seem frustrated or anxious; rather, she would wait calmly until, heaving and wheezing, I caught up with her, and then she would trot along ahead of me for a bit.
It took the better part of a day for me to be able to describe the meaning of this interaction, though I knew it had affected me profoundly. My best approximation is that I experienced Ace’s loyalty towards me. No longer was she the tiny, dependent being I raised in my kitchen. She was out with her familiars, and I was their guest, obviously struggling. Further, I was her Mama, and Ace recognized me as her own, superseding her allegiance to the pack. I belonged to her.
There was a particularly salient moment where I looked at her waiting for me patiently and seemed to see laid out before me all the years of her life ahead of us, and how we would always be bonded to one another. I saw myself caring for her in her golden years as tenderly as I had weeks after her birth. I suppose what I’m trying to explain is that I saw her as my companion, rather than my charge. And it was magical.



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