Ever since I’ve known him the Doc has played music. Not the radio or the stereo. Well not the radio, anyway. I don’t even know if we have a radio. Except in the car. I know we have one in the car, both cars, because the folks play it sometimes when they take me for rides, like to Pet Co. Love that place. The smells are amazing and no one seems to mind if I wander around and take a few sniffs.

Mom once said it’s like Costco for dogs. I’d never been to Costco, so when I heard the folks say they were going one day I insisted that I join them. They tried to talk me out of it, but I wasn’t about to let them have all the fun for themselves. Nice try. It was a longer ride than the one to Pet Co, but I like the car so no problem.

When we finally got there they wouldn’t let me go in with them. Something about it being only for people. I tried to argue but they weren’t buying it. So I stayed in the back of the SUV, my domain, and in they went. There was a lot going on in the parking lot. Apparently this Costco place is popular. I watched people come and go, and I even saw a couple of dogs go inside. Wait a minute! What about it being only for people? OK, so they were little dogs, the ones people like to keep in their purse, like a wallet or set of keys, but still.

A while later I saw the folks walking back pushing this big cart full to the brim with all kinds of stuff. When they got to the car I checked it out. Giant packages of toilet paper, tissues, laundry soap, boxes full of bottles, bags with food in them, the unmistakable aroma of lamb chops. I asked them where they thought they were going to put all that stuff. The Doc acted like nothing was the matter and started loading it all into the back of the SUV. Right. My domain.

Before long almost the entire space was full. I had one little corner to myself, next to some boxes that moved around and made this awful rattling sound every time the car hit a bump or made a turn. I was positive I was going to be buried alive. Eventually we made it home with me still in one piece. I’m not sure how. I told the folks that Costco and Pet Co have absolutely nothing in common. No one and nothing has ever tried to kill me at Pet Co.

But we were talking about the radio. Actually we were talking about music and I got a little off track, but while I am I should mention there is probably one other radio in the house. There’s this weird little black car that lives in the garage. The Doc drives it once in a while. Gave me a ride once. Nightmare. I’ll tell you about it some other time. Anyway, I’m pretty sure there’s a radio in that thing, too.

So I don’t know if the Doc plays music on the radio when he’s in the car by himself, but my guess is he does because he’s in the car a lot and that station he listens to with the people all yelling at one another and talking at the same time can be pretty annoying. But at home he plays real music. Sometimes the stereo, especially if we have people over for dinner, which happens a lot. But mostly he plays the guitar.

Like I said, he’s done this for as long as I’ve known him, which is almost all my life. I’m pretty sure he’s done it a lot longer than that, like most of his life, which by now is a pretty long time. Trust me. He’s got a bunch of guitars, some in a glass case, some on the floor, acoustic ones and electric ones, but there’s one he seems to like the most.

It’s this old wooden one he’s had forever. I’ve seen pictures of him playing it when he had long hair and a mustache, and was kind of skinny. It has a big, mellow sound, and I have to admit he’s pretty good. For years I took it for granted. He’d sit down with the guitar, start to play, and I’d lick his hand, or sometimes the guitar, to see if I could get him to play with me instead. I guess I was a little jealous or something. But I knew the thing was important to him, and that it was probably not a good idea for me to chew on it or pee on it. Though the thought crossed my mind more than once.

Lately, and by lately I mean the last couple of years or so, my attitude has changed. Now when he sits down to play I curl up nearby and listen. Very relaxing. It’s like our time together. I’ve heard Mom make some comments about me being Daddy’s dog, and maybe she’s right on some level. But I’m pretty sure she knows I’m not really happy unless we’re all here, together. I’ve just developed a more sophisticated sense of artistic appreciation. Comes with age and experience. I also like to take a lot of naps, which comes with those things, too. Hanging out, listening to the Doc play, soaking up the positive vibes, and drifting off to sleep has become one of the best parts of my day.


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