It took rain to teach me

It’s seven-thirty, the wind is blowing, the storm clouds are racing toward us. Dusk almost disappears with the approaching storm.

That’s not the time to go to Sprouts, but I decide I want to. Every once in a while, I am impulsive that way. Logic would say to drive home and get myself and the dogs inside before the storm hits.

But there is only the chance of rain. Maybe I can beat it. The temperature is about 105, so even if I get wet, it won’t be a cold rain. It might even cool me off.

With the dogs in the car, I turn west and head to Sprouts. It’s a stoplight away on the left. Our home is back east about a mile away. I should be able to pop into Sprouts and be back in the car and home within fifteen minutes.

Well, it took only a few more minutes in Sprouts than expected. Lightning and thunder continue making itself known. With four bags in the grocery cart, I walk to the car. While placing the bags in the back, it starts to sprinkle. By the time I arrive home, it is raining.

That is when I realize Chris isn’t following Bernie. When I open the back door, both Bernie and Chris leap out. Bernie, wanting to escape the rain, immediately goes up the porch steps and waits. He’s safe under the carport awning.

Chris is standing in the middle of the street, with the rain drenching him. My raised SUV back door shelters me from the rain. Thrusting three bag straps through my right arm, I turn and command Chris, “Inside!” But he stands there in the rain. I repeat the order with no response from him.

Having three bag straps through my right arm, I clutch the fourth bag in my left hand, reach up and slam the back door shut. The rain unleashes on me as I hunch over and hurry to the porch.

Only when I am stepping to the safety of the porch, does Chris rush forward to mount porch steps and seek safety from the rain.

With the dogs and me safely inside, I’m in the process of putting away the groceries when I realize why Chris didn’t follow Bernie to escape the rain.

He never does.

For the past six years, Bernie usually heads for the porch and waits by the door. I trained him to do that in the first year. It was another year before I acquire Chris.

From the first day, Chris automatically follows Bernie, so I didn’t put a lot of work following up on what he was already doing.

It wasn’t until later; I don’t recall when that Chris keeps by my side when I unload the groceries. He waits a few feet in back of me, placing him in the street. If there was traffic, either a car or golf cart, Chris is near me, but not in the street.

When I mount the porch steps, Chris is right behind me. I am comfortable with that and never give it any thought. It just is.

However, until now it didn’t rain. Until now there was never any reason to consider Chris was guarding me.

Could I be wrong? Could it only be his habit─one that is so ingrained he doesn’t know enough to get out of the rain?

Or, should I bust with pride, having a guard dog─looking out for me?

Chris

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