I recently read an article that was circulating on Facebook about how “dogs can understand words a lot better than we thought.” I read the headline to Harlow and we both laughed and rolled our eyes.
“Are people really just figuring this out?” I asked him.
Apparently, he replied. Not with words, but with his eyes, and his ears, and the overall tilt of his face when he dips his chin down and sighs.
Harlow and I have been having in-depth conversations for years. He gets my words and I get every single look or movement that flashes across his face. I’m pretty sure I understand him more than I do most people. And vice versa. But I guess that’s to be expected when you spend every single hour of your day with someone.
So what do two best friends do to celebrate a birthday, you might ask?
Pretty simple, we embark on an adventure of Harlow’s best day. This will most likely include:
*The jungle gym at 7 a.m. before the kids/nannies arrive and won’t let us in- which really pisses us off by the way because where are those kids all winter long? Huh? They can’t handle the park in January when it’s -25 like Har and I do, yet once it gets nice outside they kick us out…. Anyway.
*Stops at the church and yoga studio for treats on the way home.
*Hitting up the water fountain on Wrightwood. Then Lincoln. Then back to Wrightwood.
*When the mailman/UPS/Amazon guy comes today I might even just let him bark it out without screaming “Harlow, QUIET!” because it’s his day.
*We’ll chase squirrels for a bit around 2 p.m. Again- this is another indulgence I usually wouldn’t allow. But today he gets to bark up any tree for as long as he wants.
*Maybe an afternoon stop at Weiner’s Circle for a special treat…
*Dog park around 4. Maybe just maybe I’ll turn a blind eye and let him air hump his crush for a moment longer before I pull him away. (Harlow has many crushes and they are all embarrassingly small dogs, so he doesn’t really make contact, he just kind of walks behind them moving his hips.) It’s a little humiliating to watch, so on second thought I won’t let that happen.
*Hit up more stores that leave treat jars outside of them. Harlow knows literally every stop in the neighborhood. If we map it out right, we can hit up about 14 in a one mile radius.
*A stop at Home Depot so Harlow can run up and down the stairs and greet the man who always works the popcorn machine.
And we’ll finish the day like we do every year, where I tell Harlow the story of how he came into our lives. You’d think he’d be annoyed after hearing it all these years, but he loves any story that is just about him.
How it was 2010 and Chris and I were living in a little place called Topeker, Kansas.
We lived two blocks from Westboro Baptist Church and every single day I’d walk by their compound and plot how to destroy it. Chris worked a lot of hours and I was pretty lonely back then. Let’s just say that town wasn’t exactly the best fit for us.
Our stint in Peker didn’t last long, but I know exactly why we had to be there for that time in our lives, and it was to pick up our Harlow.
Our pudgy little baby Harlow. The little guy who wasn’t nearly as regal as his Vizsla siblings, who trailed behind the group as if saying, “hey guys, wait up for me.” The pup who flopped and rolled on his side as his more coordinated siblings jumped and pranced in the air. The “odd one” of the group the breeder told us.
As soon as I heard “the odd one,” I was sold. I picked up Har, put him in my car, and the rest is history as they say.
He didn’t whimper once that first night, or any night thereafter. But that might also have to do with the fact I slept hugging him. And still do today…
During those first weeks with puppy Harlow, on the rare occasion we’d go out at night we couldn’t wait to get back home to him. I wondered at what point that excitement would wear off, when we’d walk in the door and no longer feel the need to run to him, happily announcing that we were back.
Six years later, we still do it. Every single time. Chris and I often greet Harlow like we’re the dogs and he’s the human… It’s hard to tell these days.
Har’s slapping at my hand as I type this so I know I have about thirty seconds to wrap this up.
So happy birthday, sweet Harlow.
Aka Harby. Charby. Charbies. Harbs. Har. Harvey. Harvard. Har Har. Harls. Harvs. Charvies. Marbies. Mr. Wentworth.
And Carl when he’s being just plain naughty.
*We’re basically live streaming Har’s best day ever via Instagram vids by the way (Harlow insists, check them out @thedailytay)