By nature, Carl is an introvert. He’s not very sociable when it comes to interacting with other human beings. That is the primary reason he has few friends and never married. He’s always been better able to relate to dogs than to people.
Buster, a mix of German shepherd and rottweiler, is a large, somewhat intimidating looking dog. But despite his seemingly menacing appearance, Buster is a real sweetheart.
Carl loved taking Buster out for his daily walks. They would often head to the city park, which was about four blocks from Carl’s small house. The park had plenty of trails to follow and open fields on which Buster could run around off-leash.
As Buster explored and sniffed and peed on nearly every tree and most bushes, Carl would let his mind wander, daydreaming about one thing or another. The only time Carl had to pay attention to what his dog was doing was when Buster took a dump. Carl felt obliged to pick up Buster’s mess using a biodegradable poop bag and to deposit the bagged waste in the nearest trash receptacle.
On one particularly pleasant day, Carl was walking Buster in the park when the dog saw something that attracted his attention. Carl thought it was just a squirrel, a critter that always seemed to mesmerize Buster. But when Carl looked to see what his dog was gazing at, he saw a tall, slim brunette woman with a large dog, although not as large as Buster, on leash at her side. They were slowly heading toward Carl and Buster.
Consistent with his shy, introverted nature, Carl’s instinctive reaction when he saw the tall, slim brunette and her golden retriever appproaching was to yank Buster’s leash and head off in the opposite direction.
But Buster, the large and stubborn mammal that he is, would have none of it. He stood his ground, four feet solidly planted and eyes transfixed as he watched and waited for the other dog to get closer. As the woman and her dog neared, Buster started wagging his tail, tentatively at first, and then with more vigor when they arrived.
The woman appeared to be a little concerned by the size of Buster. She asked Carl, “Is your dog friendly?”
“For sure,” Carl responded, avoiding eye contact with the woman. “Yours?”
“Oh, she’s a sweetie pie,” the tall, slim brunet answered as she bent down and patted her dog on its head.
The two dogs started circling each other in order to stick their noses in each other’s butt and to take deep sniffs or licks or whatever it is that dogs do when they cozy up to other dogs’ butts.
Carl and the woman had to maneuver so that the dogs’ leashes didn’t get tangled. Feeling that he should say something, Carl thought for an instant, and finally blurted out, “It’s a good thing that’s not how humans greet each other.”
Immediately regretting having said that, Carl grit his teeth as his eyes darted around searching for a quick escape route.
The woman was kind enough to laugh at the idiocy that emanated from Carl’s lips. “Well, it certainly would be an interesting way for us to get to know one another,” she said. “Maybe we should give it a try,” she continued.
Carl heard what she said, and he thought he noticed a mischievous wink, but his lack of interpersonal skills made him unsure about how to respond. So he simply said, “Huh?”
“I said that it might be fun to get to know each other in the same way our dogs are.”
“Are you saying that we should sniff each others’ butts?”
“For starters,” she said. A broad, engaging, and slightly naughty smile lit up her face, while the two dogs continued their butt-sniffing ritual.
Today’s one-word prompt is “grit.”