He comes to my side as I sit swinging on the porch glider. I pet his soft, curly coat and thank him for the greeting. It’s short-lived. He didn’t come to visit me. He turns his canine attention to my front door and I understand our visit is over. Calmly, he lies down on the doormat, nose to the threshold, sniffing as if something on the other side of the door is of interest.

This is Dasher, a fluffball of a Poodle/Dalmatian mix: floppy ears of the Poodle, black-and-white reminders of the Dalmatian. A creation probably never again to be duplicated in nature. But then, that’s how nature is, every leaf unique, one of a kind. At four years old, he still resembles the puppy he had been at eight months when I first met him, which will explain the pose at my front door. He appears to be waiting patiently for someone to appear. I know who it is.

Elsa, a two-year-old Golden Retriever was…

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