Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Charlie nestles into Laura's lap as though he is trying to enter her womb. Not so much sitting there as becoming part of the body to which he is quite evidently emotionally, and now physically attached.

Charlie weighs 7 pounds, just about the size of an average newborn and he is more than good looking. He turns heads wherever he appears. Walking with him for but a few minutes, I am approached by a number of total strangers who are compelled to advise those with whom I stroll of what is so clearly evident.

Charlie is a cockapoo, with tannish fur and beautiful eyes. He is less than 6 months old and will, at full growth, likely have a hard time breaking into double digits on the weight charts. He is, and will forever be, incredibly cute.

Laura is our third child. While her parents might disagree with our assessment, we claim rights to her when she is on American soil. Laura is English but has resided in the U.S. for well over a decade. She befriended our son, who is the same age as Laura, in 2003, and they have remained close ever since.

For a time in late 2013 and early 2014 she lived in our home in Massachusetts. Soon it was filled with smells of incense, books on meditation, little Buddha like figurines, and writings on women's advocacy. Laura is, in her own way, as compelling  and mesmerizing a figure as Charlie.

Laura is now married and living on the wrong coast of the country, thousands of miles from where my wife and I reside. I witness, over the course of our visit, the joy that radiates from Laura and her betrothed. And the space that Charlie fills.

For all Laura's strengths, of which there are many, being able to have a perfectly calm center, is not one of them. Maybe that is why she and our son bonded. Souls not easily at rest.

The  meditation, the yoga and all the external signs throughout our house in Massachusetts were directed towards the goal of finding that inner peace. And Charlie has entered Laura's life to help her locate that place from which quiet emanates.

Laura did not say if Charlie was acquired as a companion dog. But whether or not that was true, it is clearly the role for which he was perfectly born. As Laura sits on the floor, legs crossed in a Buddha like repose, Charlie wanders over to her, and essentially melts into the space waiting for him. Laura leans over, softly repeating Charlie's name, then straightens up and continues our conversation.

Our house was filled with pets for about 3 decades.  Young dogs who grew old and then were gone, each one wonderful in his or her own right. We even adopted a dog that had been beaten blind as a puppy, who used our shepherd as a kind of seeing eye friend. While each of them filled up significant space in our hearts, they were not there to do what seems to come as instinct for Charlie.

He is a preternaturally calm puppy. There were 2 other dogs with him yesterday, one barking out orders to play, play with him. But Charlie would have none of it, preferring to investigate his surroundings on his own terms.

And every few minutes he would retreat to home base where he would rest in the comfort of Laura's embrace. Two beings bringing one another serenity.

It is nice to see our third child doing so well. It is hard to know exactly what is going on inside the head of another, but the laughter and smiles, the soft touch of her hand upon her husband's arm, the ease with which they spoke to each other, were reassuring signs. And in the center of it all, that quiet center, was Charlie.

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