Friday, August 04, 2006

My Dog Friend Lewis

Do you ever see people who are currently living in a familiar phase from your past? So it was with this house a few blocks from me on 23rd. It was a huge place with a bunch of young guys partying their way through that wild fun phase of life. They weren't all in the same band but they might as well have been. Actually, they were in construction, but their main pursuit in life was the outdoor camping routine with drift boats, etc... In fact the head guy used to be a guide in Alaska. Anyway they had this huge dog named Lewis - a big Irish Setter-looking beast that remains one of the most legendary dogs I ever met. And what a meeting it was. Across from the frat house - okay, it wasn't really a frat house, but it was damn close - there was a field. The first day I met Lewis - who looks like the dog pictured above - he was walking down the sidewalk one way, and I was heading right for him. Now, I've never done this before, and it really isn't a smart idea, but I went with my gut instinct. I took one look at Lewis and went into a crouch like I was going to attack. I don't know why. Of course, Lewis flipped out wondering who this stranger was. It was the kind of move you make when you know a dog pretty well, but this was our first meeting. The next few minutes were spent barking(Lewis), and growling(me), and generally acting pretty crazy, until Lewis got it: I was just kidding around. That first meeting led to a tremendous friendship, and it always went the same way. As soon as Lewis saw me, no matter how far up the street, he would just freak out. It was joyous but he never did forget the shock of that first meeting. Lewis liked me but he also knew I was a little crazy. After he would run around in circles for a while and I'd pretend to attack again there was always a long bonding session. I'll admit, I loved this dog. It got so when the guys who lived there saw me coming, they'd yell for Lewis to come out, so the ritual could occur. I also liked the guys a lot. It was the era where the Trib was delivered to their door, and they were impressed with my column about hanging out with Bob Weir.
I eventually moved away from the neighborhood but I'd still drive by. Once I was with my wife. I had told her about the dog but she never had witnessed the outburst. I saw Lewis on the steps, so I suggested that my wife might want to stay in the car, and I stepped out. She got a chance to witness the Lewis-freak out-affection ritual first hand, which was kind of fun for me.
Anyway, this morning, I'm at the store, and I run into the guys. They were loading up for a camping trip - lots of ice and several cases of beer. The head guy said I should go out and say hello to Lewis. I couldn't miss where. Look for two pickup trucks hauling two drift boats. I went out there to find another one of the guys and an absolutely gorgeous young woman holding down the fort. Lewis was in the back seat of a truck, but he didn't really go nuts. I got an affectionate look and a few growls, but he's older now with bad hips. When the owner came out, he opened the truck and Lewis came out for the traditional petting. I got off a few growls but there was no running around. We are both older. I asked where they were going and they said the Deshutes River for 4 days. God, that sounded good. They also said they were moving out of the house where that young crazy phase had taken place. That kind of made me sad. It was a real treat seeing them go through that stage, knowing how they'll look back on these years later. As for Lewis, when you first meet a big dog, I wouldn't recommend going into attack mode, but in our case it led to a great friendship.


At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Daoud said...

good tale.
Who is a good dog?
Lewis is a good dog.


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