Point of View ‘Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay’

“Joy is the condition of life,”

Henry Thoreau said, “Joy is the condition of life,” and I believe him. Certainly O’en, our white golden, does, especially now that he has as a houseguest a goldendoodle from Ohio named Fozzie.

They are inseparable. Well, that’s putting it mildly. They’re the most vigorous, courteous love-makers I’ve ever seen, neither one lording it over the other unless that’s the scene they’re playing. Roles switch in a second, sort of like an ever-whirling yin-yang. Sometimes they just lie there, a foot apart, mouths agape, looking fondly at each other, exhausted.

The other night, Mary said she heard whimpers and thought they came from Emily’s bedroom upstairs where Fozzie sleeps in a crate. But no, it was O’en who was being plaintive. I could almost imagine him, eyes upcast, 12-string guitar in hand, singing softly, “Ay, ay, ay, here at your window. . . .”

When Fozzie descends the stairs in the morning, it’s as if they haven’t seen each other in ages. O’en leaps at the gate that has sequestered him in the kitchen, forepaws upraised and extended in utter delight, pouring forth his soul abroad in such an ecstasy!

I do worry what will happen when Fozzie has to go. Undoubtedly, O’en will be depressed, but he’s too much a part of us now to idly part with him. There was a time when we worried that maybe we’d bitten off more than we could chew, but we’re pretty much in sync now. He, the beautiful boy, dines on braised organic free-range chicken thighs, a recipe of Thomas Keller’s, and fluffy organic brown rice with which occasionally we mix in some bits of Cabot’s extra-sharp cheese to firm up the stool. Taking care not to intrude, we ask periodically, rubbing our hands together, if everything is to his satisfaction.

“This is the Hamptons, you know,” I say to Emily. “What do the dogs in Perrysburg eat? Kibble?”

She shoots me a look. “With children and Fozzie it’s L.C.D., Dad, as in least common denominator. We keep the bar low. Your children have grown, it’s just the two of you, I can see that. But tea sandwiches with the crusts cut off?”

“Only on special occasions.”

“Well, he is a wonderful-looking dog.”

“He is. We don’t walk, we take the air. And so it ever will be. Though I know that whenever he’s in our embrace hereafter he’ll be thinking of Fozzie.”