I’ve found many animals to be great judges of character. They seem to know who to warm up to and trust - a very good asset as their very lives may well depend on this.
In your case the fact that both of you entered the dog’s domain with the owner put you on good terms already but ironically it may have been your sour attitude that the dog sensed and made it a mission to change.
"unbarking" is one of the most evocative adjectives I've seen to describe a dog — for someone who has a very bark-y dog, "unbarking" is a kind of impossible perfect state to which we all aspire :)
This June, my wife and I stayed on a horse farm in Akureyri in the north of Iceland. There were 5 black-and-white border collies that roamed the farm lands freely, sometimes chasing the horses but mostly seeking us out to nuzzle up against us. We'd wake up in the mornings to find them waiting outside our Airbnb door. Your story reminded me of those wonderful beings.
Whenever I’m feeling ungrounded overwhelmed intellectually “over abundant” and completely flummoxed by the human potential for cruelty and foolishness about 10 minutes with an animal settled me down.
Good to hear from you, Mary. I hope Iceland was enjoyable overall. I went there once and found calm in the desolate-seeming landscape, which seemed less and less desolate the longer I was there.
Here's my mildly pertinent Nabokov quote for this post!
“And besides, everything around, those sparkling puddles—why do bakers wear rubbers without socks, I don’t know—but every day, every instant all this around me laughs, gleams, begs to be looked at, to be loved. The world stands like a dog pleading to be played with.” (from Knight Queen Knave)
one of the great mysteries i often ponder is .... what have we humans done to deserve the benefits of all dogs offer beyond the symbiotic benefits of our species coexistence? the unconditional love and service is obvious and there is so much more... they mold to whatever we need them to be, to do, to look like and offer us a look at life spent in time: no future; no past, just the present 💝
I'm a poet, so maybe appreciate descriptions of small moments like these more than most people. The so-called "big" picture tends to elude me, while glimpses of a life make perfect and immediate sense. I love this little interlude, the crud turning into joy. Thanks for writing about it!
as often as we have unexpected bad moments, it's so nice when the reverse happens. (also, i've found renting cars straight from keflavik airport almost always results in a dud tho idk why.) i used to be more of a dog person and now favor cats, but really, both can be great and comforting companions. i'm so glad this pooch showed up to turn your mood!—and hope the rest of the trip improved too. iceland is so stunning, especially this time of year.
I’m so glad you happened to cross paths with this exceptional canine and your heart was open to him. Yay that he was able to lift the awful (I get it) mood you were both in when you arrived at the shop. One of many surprises of Iceland. I think your experience with this dog may have a lasting effect. And he IS beautiful! :-D
It’s such a relief to know that (sometimes) we’re capable of being surprised by joy. Or maybe joyed by surprise is more apt here.
What is your husband’s name in case we want to read what he wrote about Iceland?
Yay! We were worried we'd lost you! Nice piece.
To be on the receiving end of unbarking!! dog joy is the best. I hope the rest of your trip was a lovely as this dog moment!
I so sympathize with your rental car breakdown. This happened to me, in the South of France, 7 yrs ago. Drove the car out of the agency, 10 minutes later, the transmission dropped. A complicated and prolonged rescue ensued, which involved sitting in a garage in backwater Aix, a scene out of a Simenon novel, for 3 hours more, waiting for a replacement car. No friendly dog appeared to cheer us up! n.b. Never rent from Europcar!
it's unfortunate, because i found that everywhere else in the country, people were very honest—so it's not a good first impression for tourists. but i'm happy you ended up enjoying your trip!
I brought home some lovely porous dark rocks from the beach at Vik. Hopefully that wasn’t a criminal act. They stack very nicely on a bookcase. I suspect the dog was what people in the states call an Icelandic Sheepdog. Icelandic folk probably just call them dogs. Also, I think “This Beautiful Unbarking Dog” should be the title of...something.
Great story! I had a plumber's assistant experience with two big grungey dogs that looked just like that. So it was transformative when after helping me fix the basement drain, his two frothy dogs lept all over me and ran up the stairs, chasing my terrified cat to hide pressing against the window like a Halloween cat! lol!
I'm not really a dog person either, but every once in a while one of these beasts will tug seriously at the heart. A lovely story. Thanks.