By Diane Gage Lofgren
If you’re fortunate to have a dog, you know that striking up a conversation with someone new is so much easier when you’re with your furry companion. I live on a boat in a Marina with a beautiful walkway that passes more boats, park-like spaces and condos. One of the most popular inhabitants in our neighborhood is Tango, my adorable two-year-old Sheltie.
Everyone knows Tango. She’s outgoing and fun, and delighted to meet you! And Tango makes it so much easier for me to meet others. Especially other dog owners. There is Susan who rescued Suzie and didn’t dare change her name. Thank goodness she didn’t because she is one of a handful of dog walkers whose name I actually remember.
And I can’t forget Trib (for Tribute), a Sheltie of the male variety, who adores my Tango. Her owners Mary and Gene walk by the green space outside of our marina almost daily. When they do, Tango lets out a yelp and looks for the OK to head out the gate and play. As the dogs chase the Frisbee and each other, we adults talk – and not just about our dogs’ antics. We get to know each other as friends. And that has led to Mary and Gene inviting my husband Matt and me over for wine – as well as to Sheltie Sunday, a must-see gathering of Shelties of all varieties that meets the last Sunday of each month. We can’t wait to go!Even when we head off to the mountains, Tango has peeps. Just across the street from our cabin live Lilly and Lady, who have helped us meet their family–Helen, Lexie, and Rick. When Lilly senses Tango has arrived, she bounds down the hill and the two scrum for the Frisbee. Sooner or later, we get to see their owners and friendship builds.
This morning while out on a walk with Tango before work, I met a lovely woman who has had poodles all her life. She took to Tango and Tango met her with licks affection. She even offered to pet sit any time. I hope I get to know her better and that she takes to me as easily as she did my loveable pet.
Perhaps there are downsides to meeting friends through our dogs. First, it’s easier to remember the dog’s name than the human’s. Take Archie, whose mom is a wonderful woman named…? Second, we really can’t be sure if the pet owners like us for us or for our taste in canine companions. I guess the only way to find out is to get together with or without our pets and aim to know each other through conversations that go beyond whether or not to give treats when our dogs do tricks or if we like the nearby pet hotel.
I am forever indebted to Tango for helping me meet our neighbors and get to know their humans!