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What I Learn from Porch Doggie

It’s summer – the season when Max Maxey, my beloved yellow Lab becomes “Porch Doggie” nearly every evening. He knows the command, “Max  – want to be a porch doggie?” and he gallops to the front door and out on our old fashioned front porch. I sit in the chair and read or work, but mostly I  just sit and watch my porch doggie in action.

Because we live in an urban neighborhood, there are lots of people for Max to watch walking by.  He has a distinct reaction to each type. Some receive passing interest:  a raised eyebrow, one eye open, or a sigh. These folks  just don’t stimulate a stronger emotion. Passers by with their own dogs receive a bit more attention – a raised head, erect neck and ears and eyes that follow them along – sometimes with just a little growl of distrust.  Then there are the friendly acquaintances who nod or say  “Hi!” but keep walking. These folks get a “thump thump” tail wag. Next are the casual friends and neighbors whom  we both know better – enough for me to make light conversation and Max to walk down a few steps to sniff –  cautiously looking back at me to make sure it’s OK.  And last are the good friends – the neighbors we know well – like Bob, who basically gets rushed as Max bounds down the steps, runs in circles around him, and sniffs his dogs and the front parkway grass. Only fully happy when he gets a pat on the head, he comes back up to the porch, but reluctantly, and only when called.  Basically, after Bob, there are no better potential passers by of interest in Max’s book.

And so the evening goes until it’s too dark to see or I get bored; Max never gets bored of watching and waiting for whoever is coming by next – canine or human. So what do I learn from my “porch doggie?” Hopefully we humans will never lose the joy of interaction with all kinds of people – from surprise visitors to favorite friends. Hopefully we will look forward to getting out on the front porch as much as Max does – whether it’s a real front porch or the elevator to an apartment or a park bench. And hopefully, we won’t ever rely on only electronic connections to greet, meet, befriend, and know our neighbors. Happy Porch Sitting from me and Max!

  1. Cyndi Maxey
    Cyndi Maxey

    Thanks Karolus for your kind words and perspective and glad you had Gypsy!

  2. Cyndi Maxey
    Cyndi Maxey

    Glad you and Cosmo share the experience!

  3. Cyndi Maxey
    Cyndi Maxey

    Thanks Vince

  4. Cyndi Maxey
    Cyndi Maxey

    Thanks Jerilyn …love the additional lessons!

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    Karolus Smejda

    Having spent my childhood on a farm with lots of different animals, including a lovely border collie (Gypsy), I learned to learn from animals and trust them. Lovely moment you captured, Cyndi.

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    Jerilyn Willin


    The key words at my house are “Want to go to the bench?” Both dogs (even 12-year-old Greta) rush the door. Once it is open they take the driveway to the sidewalk to the short path that leads to the bench and wait for Tim and I there. While we have our coffee and wave to neighbors, squirrels are eyed, leaves are sniffed and ANYTHING edible is consumed. As I say on my one-sheet, dogs truly are a reminder of what is important: play with abandon, nap when you need to, love unconditionally and drink plenty of water.

  7. Cyndi Maxey
    Cyndi Maxey

    Thanks Janet; I share your views exactly!

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    Janet E. Clements


    This is a very sweet story about your Porch Pooch.

    The best part of the story is the last sentence. It seems we have lost almost all social contact…noone reaches out in person through voice or face to face. My family communicates through texting to save money by limiting their cellular minutes. I hear the same story from many of my patients. Does anyone ever look in another person’s eye? We’ve become a touchless society communicating through technology.

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    Vince Keenan

    Hey there Cyndi!
    Nice post! Enjoy the evening, you and Max!

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    Michael Kulczycki


    Exact same experience, urban neighborhood, ask Cosmo, my golden, if he wants “porch time” and he always beats me to the door!

    Great story! thanks for sharing, Michael

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