Ryan Doenges

A dog truth

When my family lived in Pennsylvania, we had a large back yard with one giant oak and one tall cedar. On hot summer days our big blonde dog would lope down to the base of the cedar tree and clear a swath the size of his body out of the loosely matted needles there, and till the dirt with his claws. When he had cleared away the top layer he would bring his body into position and flop dramatically onto the newly exposed earth.

He would lounge there for hours, panting and occasionally lifting his head to sniff at the breeze. We liked to pretend at exasperation or surprise in response, but the truth is that few things in life are more magnificent to behold than a big dog beating the heat.


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