T.G.I.F. and, he nails it…

There’s an amplitude of joy and magnitude of relief that tip into mania, and that’s Regan’s state when I return from a work trip of several days, as I did last weekend, to retrieve her from the “lodge” for dogs where I sometimes board her.

She hurls herself against me, bounces off and then runs madly in circles while making these ear-shredding sounds that aren’t exactly barks and not quite yelps but definitely the result of bottled-up emotion exploding. I imagine that she’s regaling me with a litany of the ways in which she has been deprived, admonishing me for my betrayal and outlining my penance, starting with a trip to the nearby Starbucks for a “pup cup” of whipped cream.

But what really gets me — the reason I’m sharing this, its relevance beyond us dog lovers — is her behavior minutes later, when we arrive home and she jumps from the car. She zooms to the center of the front yard, finds the best vantage point and does a visual sweep of the cul-de-sac, as if to make sure that nothing has changed. Then she zips into the house and does a similar inspection, room by room.

Her water and food bowls, in a corner of the kitchen: check.

Her main bed, just beside the hearth in the living room: check.

Her other bed, in a spare room upstairs: check.

My bed, on which she jumps whenever she pleases: check.

Her inventory is methodical, and when it’s finished, the sense of comfort, security and contentment that settles over her and emanates from her is palpable. If it had a voice and a script, they would be Judy Garland’s in “The Wizard of Oz.” There’s no place like home.

She can’t know, as I do, how lucky we are to have this one. But she can savor it nonetheless, and it’s clear to me that she’s doing precisely that when, depleted by the days of uncertainty and disorientation, she collapses on one of those beds and falls into an unfathomably deep sleep.

I look at her and see more than a still mound of silky fur. I see the meaning and the gift, in a world that often separates us without warning from the people and places we love, of a refuge where everything is as you left it. Where your defenses can come down. And where you can find peace enough to dream.

Frank Bruni, “On a Personal (By Which I Mean Regan) Note” (New York Times, Feb 9, 2023)


  1. this is so perfectly illustrated and beautifully said, a universal need for ‘home’ that spans across all living beings

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful essay! I have never had the privilege of owning a dog. Life circumstances always get in the way. I dearly hope that one day I am able to correct that. I know I am missing out on something very special. (I also know that owning a pup is a big responsibility and requires a big commitment.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are Paul. You are. But it is a massive time and $ commitment, and one that could run for 10-15 years. I could only wish that everyone was as thoughtful as you in thinking through the decision. So many dogs are abandoned it is beyond sad.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Reminds me of Wally’s happy wiggle when he sees his dad, Bogey and Lucy’s unbridled zoomies when I get home (even if it’s from the mailbox, which honestly is a bit much)…Uncensored exuberance and joy – when everything is back to where it should be.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Such good writers our there, and I’m grateful that you compile them.

    Makes me think, for the first time (?) about getting a dog, someone to run to me, to love me unconditionally, to make me laugh, to bring out my own joy. Maybe more than that . . . To make a commitment, to someone, and to a place, to recollect from some deep place my own animal need for home.

    Thank you, David.


    Liked by 3 people

  5. This is beyond beautiful. Made me smile and nod all along. My pup was exactly like that; including when I left for half an hour max. But the best (worst for her little heart) was when I returned from 3 weeks being in Italy. I KNEW I had to approach her as ‘casual and unimpressed’ as possible which was the hardest thing to do as my heart was absolutely bursting with joy of seeing and holding her against my body once more. But she wriggled and jumped endlessly, barked, licked, whined and would herself into me for literally 10 minutes….. I live in pain every day of my life because I am w/o a dog but being away so often it just wouldn’t be fair on the 4-legged buddy. But in my heart there’s always a big special place for a dog. And will be…. And I have never ever met a human being who was owned by a dog who had a foul character. So, having a dog is, to me, a great sign of a good person.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. They sure love their “home”. Lia never had one in her first three years. Now that she has one, she just loves it and lets us know how much, even if she’s just gone for an hour or two!


  7. Late to this party, but smiling at every line as a version of this scene was just enacted here yesterday when Beau came home from the pet sitter’s. The feverish need to survey the domain, ensuring all is at it should be, and the intense relief and satisfaction that follows is a sight to behold. The cream on the sundae are the snores that issue forth once Beau has completed his cursory inspection and settled himself *just so* in our bed, across *all* of our pillows.💕💕


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