Luke and Bruno Reunite
By Amy LeCLaire
The first few minutes were less than graceful. Luke was so happy to see Bruno that he couldn’t hold back a surge of testosterone. He smelled the signs. He saw the bags. He heard the news. “Sleep over!” Then he climbed on his friend’s back and mounted him. “Luke! Please!” Of course, we redirected our one-year-old dog. Nevertheless, boundaries were in order and the two dogs, senior and young, would establish such. “I love you, Luke, but I’m not into physical play.” A few hours later, Luke suffered a bout of diarrhea while Bruno hacked up his dry dog food. Luke attempted to eat the mound of vomit, but I caught him in time. “Leave it.” I yanked at his collar.
It’s the life of a dog owner, chaotic and joyful all at once.
“Let’s both get a drink of water!” The two pals—bonded by breed, temperament, and dog-parent-friends—drank and drank. I cleaned and cleaned. Bruno studied my moves. “Are you a professional cleaner, by chance?”
The dogs tap danced about the kitchen, grabbed stuffed animals, and followed me around the house. They did what dogs do. They stood at the door to go outside. They came back in. They settled down. “I’m thriving at “ten” aren’t I?” Bruno smiled up at me. I had earned his trust. Meanwhile, Luke fought to claim his Golden bestie.
“Let him off the leash, Momma! He’s my friend and you’re being a control freak!” Luke hollered at me on that first day while we showed Bruno our unfenced backyard. “We just want to hang out, No Parents Allowed.” Luke had a point. He was being reasonable. Dogs are supposed to run free in a big backyard. Still, there was no way I could risk losing sweet Bruno, who buried his whitened face in my lap. “Help.”
Luke acquiesced; especially given multiple walks offered, a trade-off for the leash law. “This is my neighborhood, Bruno.” Luke pulled ahead while Bruno ponied forward like a dog half his age. He reveled in new sights and fun neighbors to greet. I could tell he felt at home in the neighborhood. “This is Bruno.” I boasted of my senior Golden while Luke did the same. “This is my friend, Bruno. Doesn’t he look so good for his age? We’re having a sleep-over tonight.”
Rosie, Luke’s girlie BFF, stopped over one day and showed Bruno some sass. “That’s my friend! You don’t belong!” Luke mediated, baseball in mouth. “Let’s just play chase and let it go, Rosie.” Bruno sat at my husband’s heel and waited to go back inside. “That Doodle’s crazy.”
Our love for the two Goldens swelled with the passing of each day. Bruno adored family nights while we all hung out in the family room to watch football games and snuggle. He added a special charm to our time together. World News was grim, but we had two Goldens in the same room. We were living the dream. Luke shared his orthopedic bed but struggled to let go of his shin bones. “Luke, no hoarding.” Bruno smiled and went with the flow. “No worries. I’ll take the stuffed beaver.”
The subtle fashion by which the dogs bonded, be it via walks, play time, or sleeping schedules, was something I’ll always cherish as a Dog Person. They checked on each other and chose to stretch out and nap in the same spots. Luke stared at Bruno while he rested and licked his nose. He also became a role model, showing Bruno how he stays “at his spot” during mealtimes. “Bruno, if you sit and wait long enough, eventually my mom will give you a treat, but you must be consistent. I think it’s the teacher in her.”
Bruno stayed by my side and leaned into my lap. Kind and sensitive, he whimpered while I trotted up our (gated) staircase. “I’ll be right down, Bruno!” Luke craned his neck up to the foyer. “They always come back. Let’s go people-watch on the step outside.”
Luke sustained his outdoor dog-watching routine while Bruno stayed inside with me, a loyal friend and gentle giant. He watched me practice dances and smiled up at me with adoration. He communicated his needs with patience and gratitude. “Thank you for taking care of me. I’m just so happy to be with you.” A senior Golden is as warm and cozy as a cup of tea. Mornings were equally as gratifying with the two pups.
“Oh my gosh! Hello! It’s a brand-new day! Can you believe it? Hey, how did you sleep? I’m loving the rug by the front steps, by the way. Let’s go outside! I’m so excited for my breakfast! Hold on – I just need to pee. Don’t forget, that’s my dish. I’ll take a water refill when you get a chance. Who’s that at the bus stop??!!”
Positivity has become cliché, a word preached but not always practiced. Dogs are naturally positive without the flood of pop psychology and cheesy inspirational quotes. Dogs don’t post a wish that you “Have a Blessed Day” on social media. Dogs give you a blessed day by waking up genuinely happy to see and be with you, with and without messes. I’ve given every dog I’ve owned my best, but they give back so much more, especially when there are two.
Stay tuned for more on Living with Luke. Find him on IG @livingwithlukevalentino
Write to Amy