“As the Lodge Turns” Episode 48: A Fresh Perspective

On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…

Well, this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve been wrong!

What I thought was a bloodthirsty, snorting creature slowly stalking me from behind is actually a well-meaning, friendly therapy dog! I need to trust my brain more and my intuition a little less…

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“The name’s Charlie John, by the way,” he says, his mouth cracking into a wide smile. “Sorry for giving you such a scare.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Charlie John! My name’s Bing, and don’t worry, I tend to overreact a little in situations like this,” I explain, taking a seat on the turf with an embarrassed sigh.

Charlie John tilts his head to one side.

“Maybe you could help me work through those problems,” I suggest with an awkward laugh.

His large eyes widen.

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“Oh, I’m not that kind of therapy dog. Usually my job is to help upset or stressed humans relax; for some reason they seem to calm down when they pet me. I’m actually really quiet when I do my work, but during playtime my snorting just seems to burst out,” he says, giving me a few of his best snorts to demonstrate.

I stare at him, completely awestruck by the way he describes his work. In my time at the Lodge, I’ve met quite a few dogs that have jobs; Maia helps find and rescue humans who are in trouble, while Biscuit and Charlie John comfort humans who are going through a difficult time. It amazes me that even though most of us are perfectly content to play and have fun, there are some dogs that are happiest when they’re working to help humans in need.

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“That’s so cool!” I say, my tail wagging enthusiastically.

“I love what I do, but what I’ve really missed is playing in the yards with the other dogs. The summer heat is a little too much for me, so I’ve spent the last few weeks indoors…I thought it would never get cool!” Charlie John says, taking an appreciative sniff of the pleasant air.

It must be hard to spend that much time indoors during the summer months. I can’t say I blame him – there are days when the temperature is so high that we all have to stay inside. Thank goodness the Lodge has an awesome pool for us to swim in! Some days I spent so much time in the water I was sure I’d grow gills!

“So why are you sitting here by yourself? Just wanted to get away from all the action?” Charlie John asks, staring at me with his thoughtful eyes.

“Well, none of my best friends are here today, so I thought I’d enjoy some ‘me time’ instead,” I explain, batting lightly at the drool-soaked tennis ball with my paw.

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“Alone time every now and then is essential to happiness. But you seemed sort of… gloomy, mechanically chewing that thing like it was a chore. I was just thinking, since we’re both alone today, maybe you’d like to play with me?” he asks, his very short tail beginning to wag.

I hate to admit that he’s right. He could tell just by looking at me that I wasn’t having any fun all by myself…I thought that if I just focused on other activities, I wouldn’t miss being surrounded by my friends. But trying to ignore those feelings only isolated me further…

I’m pretty lucky that Charlie John’s discerning eyes could see through me.

“Of course I would! Let’s go!” I say with a cheerful bark, my spirits brightening for the first time today.

We chase each other around the yard, and I’m surprised to find that, in spite of his shorter legs, Charlie John manages to keep a steady foot ahead of me at all times. His happy grunts and snorts fill the air with a strange sort of music, the likes of which I’ve never heard before. As we round a corner of the fence, I try out a weak snarl.

“Not bad! Mine’s better though,” Charlie John calls back to me between even louder and more impressive snorts.

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Beagles can’t be great at everything, I guess…

As we circle the pool, I skid to a halt.

“Hey, Charlie John! Watch this!” I shout, sidling up to one of the tiny fountains.

Though every fiber of my beagle being urges me to approach with caution, my intense desire to impress Charlie John is what pushes my snout into the water with reckless abandon. I chomp at the steady stream of water, blocking its flow with my face. I snap at it, and then I let it flow, then snap, then flow, then snap, over and over again.

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“How do you like my new way of drinking?” I ask, pausing to take a look at Charlie John’s expression.

His eyes are wide with excitement, and his tiny tail twitches back and forth. Rushing to another fountain, he hesitantly pushes his face into the stream of water. He sputters and snorts happily as the water sprays him, biting at the fountain every few seconds. A few dogs stop to watch our game, and some even join in!

Charlie John and I laugh at each other’s wet, dripping faces, knowing full well that we’re practically staring at our own reflections.

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Being able to have fun alone is definitely important. But maybe, the next time I feel lonely, I’ll see it as a chance to meet new dogs instead of closing myself off. I’m glad that Charlie John reached out to me when I most needed a friend…

“Bing!”

That bark can only belong to one dog! But could it really be…?

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“Sorry, I had to come a little later than usual today,” Lucy says, running towards me.

I can’t believe my ears.

She was just running late!

Charlie John flashes me a wide smile from his fountain, and I grin right back. I hope someday, I can pay his kindness forward…

“Lucy, there’s someone I’d like you to meet…” I say, leading Lucy to my new friend, showcasing my snorts while we walk.

Charlie John said he provides therapy to humans, but I think he has a real way with dogs too!

…to be continued…