Thursday, 28 November 2013, approaching 11pm.
I’d just stepped through the front door to my apartment building when I saw a young woman coming down the stairs from the first floor.
I then noticed that she also had a young dog on a lead, and the dog’s breed looked like a favourite of mine.
I stayed at the front door, and as the woman approached I said that I’d close the door behind her.
She thanked me, and as her dog drew closer I had to ask, “Staffy?”
She said yes, and I asked if I could please pat her dog.
She said yes again, and so I knelt down and did.
Like all Staffies I’ve encountered, this one was very friendly and she also had lovely soft fur.
Her owner soon introduced her as Olive.
A moment later, Olive was leaping up and licking my chin. Her owner told her to stop; I reassured her that it didn’t bother me, but she then told me that it was a bad habit that she wanted Olive to unlearn so I decided to assist by getting up.
We introduced ourselves, I wished her and Olive a good walk, and closed the front door behind them.
For several reasons, it had been nice to pat a dog again.
First, I rarely get the opportunity to pat them, as I know few people with dogs.
Second, I especially like Staffies. Since the late 1990s my eldest sister has been a constant Staffy owner, and it was through knowing her dogs that I came to develop a fondness for the breed.
Third, with how grueling my week had been – and it wasn’t over yet – patting a very friendly dog would become a simple yet very powerful pleasure to recall.
I began the week with two work deadlines and what at first I thought was a cold. By Monday night, however, I was actually sick with the flu.
I spent the next two days alternating between rest and work. Fortunately, I got over the physical worst of the flu during those two days and still got my work done…but unfortunately, I began a very bad period of insomnia that I’m still enduring.
The night after I met Olive and her owner, I attended a social occasion that I had been looking forward to as a good way to end a difficult week. And for most of its time it was – until it ended on an unexpected and unpleasant note. My Friday night wasn’t completely ruined, but it was soured.
So it’s very pleasant indeed to remember meeting Olive and her owner, and the happiness and joy of patting a nice dog.