Puppy Love 23

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My heart was heavy, my aura blue. I had thought my grand scheme to suggest to Lucas that he might adopt a child would take hold. The boy–now grown into a quiet, kind, gentle man–has so much love. Surely, he’d want to take in a child to love, too!

But he seems to feel the dogs offer plenty of chances to share his love.

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Emery has grown into a very fine dog. Take a pomeranian, a beagle, a water spaniel, a giant schnauzer, and a collie, and what do you get? Emery. He looks like he could be a Newfoundland, with that broad, intelligent brow of his. But he is a mixed breed, through and through!

He has a mystical air about him, with his blue moon eye, always reflecting the light. His other eye is dark and compassionate, and if both eyes matched, one would call him a wise, kind dog. But that unsettling moon eye–he is a magician.

His nose, too, is mottled.

Lucas takes as good care of Emery as he does the other five. I wonder sometimes how he manages to squeeze enough minutes from a day to be able to keep all five dogs bathed, fed, and exercised. But he does.

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Sometimes, as my spirit slides through, Lucas feels my presence, and then he sees me.

“Astrid!”

Yes, I can still feel warmth. It’s not physical warmth. It’s the warmth of this boy’s heart. This very good man’s heart.

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“Aren’t you lonely, Lucas?” I asked him. “Don’t you want a two-legged person to talk with sometimes? Someone who could help with this houseful of dogs?”

“It’s not such a good idea, is it, Astrid? To have someone move in to help? Isn’t that, like, using the person? Besides. I don’t get to spend enough time by myself as it is.”

To each their own. I just think how my life became more rich, more full, with more time for myself, even, once Tanvi moved in.

Of course, I was utilitarian in my offer to her: Move in, help me take care of the dogs, take care of them when I’m gone, and I’ll leave you all this. She took that approach with Lucas. Maybe that’s why he’s so sensitive about bringing in someone else under those conditions.

He’s young enough that he doesn’t have to worry about the dogs outliving him, unless the line continues for many more generations. Imagine what they might look like, five generations hence! If the progeny carry on Chloe’s disposition and looks, we’ll be lucky, indeed.

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Emery’s mother is a very sweet. While Emery, superstitious as only a magician can be, cowered when he saw me, startling me in return, Chloe looked right at me and smile. She is drawn to the supernatural.

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I lingered around the house for a few days to assess for myself whether what Lucas said, about preferring to live alone the way he does, was true. Was he really doing all right and managing fine?

While I was there, his new maid came. I suppose the other one retired. The dogs seemed to love this one. She had a bold style, with bright makeup and hair dyed copper-penny red.

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I admit to eavesdropping on their conversation.

“You have a lot of dogs,” she said.

“Yep,” said Lucas. “Do you like dogs?”

“Well, they’re messy. I mean, your house. It has–” she sniffed– “a very definite odor.”

“I don’t notice,” Lucas said.

“And there’s hair everywhere. You know it will take me hours and hours to clean your home.”

“Yes, but you’ll do a good job?”

“Yes. And you’ll pay me. So, there’s that.”

“They’re good companions? The dogs. I mean, they are.”

“Sure. But one or two are good companions. That’s what I’m saying. So I suppose the answer to your question is, yes. I like dogs. But in ones and twos. Not fives and sixes.”

“You see,” said Lucas, “what you say makes very good sense? But there’s another way to look at it. What are we short of in this world? I’m not talking in a physical sense. I’m talking energy. What is the world short of? Love. That’s all. More love makes a better world. Who’s best at creating the feeling of love? It’s gotta be a dog. One dog creates a lot of love. Five dogs? That’s a love machine!”

“So, you’re solving the world’s problems through the power of puppy love?”

“Something like that,” said Lucas.

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