A Boy and His Dog

We got Ender about five months before Silas was born. Call it misguided nesting (it was). Call it puppy love (that too). I mean, how could we not bring him home? Look at him!

At first, he didn’t quite know what to make of Silas. He wasn’t jealous, exactly, he just didn’t know what this new creature was.

Silas has always been pretty fascinated with Ender. His first word, at five months old, was “doggie!”

I remember that I wished, last summer, that Ender and Silas would really be able to play together, to chase around and wear each other out. But Ender played too roughly, and Silas was still figuring out the whole walking thing. He couldn’t run after the dog or throw a stick. He still had pretty grabby hands, too. So they kept their distance, despite their mutual fascination.

Maybe Silas learned something from Angel and Gabe, the elderly Lab mixes at the home where we stayed in Michigan. He moves more slowly and carefully around the animals than he used to. He doesn’t grab their fur as much. He is still pretty curious about dog food, but now, instead of eating it himself, he feeds it to Ender, one kibble at a time. They both love this game.

Finally, Monday afternoon, they really played together. Silas was trying to roughhouse with the cat, who has just recently started allowing him to pet her. He kept saying, “Huggy! Huggy!” and squeezing her too tightly.
“The kitty doesn’t like to play like that,” I told him. “But you know who does like that game? Ender! Go on, try to hug Ender.”

He ran at Ender, arms outstretched. Of course, Ender ran away…but just a little bit. And when Silas caught up, Ender started running again.

They played like this for a long time. When Silas seemed to get a little bored, Ender introduced a new element to the game–a stick. He was really clearly playing. It was very sweet.

And before too long, they both collapsed in the grass, panting and giggling.

A boy needs a dog, I think.


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