Enter Rondo, who struts confidently and radiates charm. He is a sporting man who indulges in swimming, tugs of war, and games of chase. He looks like a stuffed toy, but he makes his wishes known in a way that suggests he might have been a general in another life.
This pair, this retiring host and his brash houseguest, differ in tastes, preferences, and appearance. An Italian greyhound and a dachshund, they stand at opposite ends of the dog-leg continuum. They never chose to be friends; the humans in their lives brought them together. Still, they are good-natured fellows, and during a week spent in close quarters, they did their best.
First, though, they had to lay down some noisy ground rules. Nandi made it clear that canine guests are not to survey the contents of his family's refrigerator, and he sounded authoritative, as if he enjoys this privilege. (He doesn't.) Rondo let it be known that he dislikes constant invasion of his personal space: "You know what I smell like," he barked. "Back off!"
This scolding was enough to send his chastened host upstairs in shame. Nandi would be coaxed down only when a respectable interval had passed. (Of course, it helped that smoked salmon was on the breakfast menu.) Happily for everyone, life continued peacefully once the fundamentals of civilization had been firmly reestablished.
There was no great epiphany, no moment when something clicked for one or both parties, instantly making them friends. Rather, they forged their friendship gradually, watching and learning from each other. Once Rondo learned from Nandi which chair conveyed the greatest prestige, one dog occupied this choice seat as soon as the other vacated it. Similarly, Nandi watched with great interest as Rondo chased a toy into another room, brought it back, and then waited eagerly for it to be thrown again. Never much for fetching, Nandi decided nonetheless to give this game a try. After one toss and retrieval he said, "Thanks, but this is not for me." And that was fine. Both good walkers, the two took strolls together and romped on a college campus on a windy afternoon.
Day six, and they were sharing space on the sofa, catching some rays, as dogs love to do. Then came day seven, and Rondo went home. Neither is much for phoning or writing, so they will resume their friendship only when we humans bring them together again. Will they pick up where they left off, or will they have to start fresh? I cannot say, but I know they will recognize each other, and I hope that each will be glad to see the other again. Together or apart, they bring their humans joy.
Happy New Year, my readers, my friends.