300 Days of Writing
Day 27 Love:
Barney had the best smile, even though he often drooled. His tongue hung over his teeth as the tempo of his breath would increase with excitement. His panting breath would sync with his wagging tail, a full bottom motion as if his body were built on a hinge.
Barney’s favorite toy was a stuffed duck. Whenever a human was near him, he would run find the duck and plant it at their feet. The offering was made to entice the human to play tug-o-war, which Barney always won. Once the people grew tired of him, turning their attention to one another and their glasses of wine, Barney would thwack the toy against his body. He would push it with his nose around the floor, chasing after it for his own entertainment. He loved the duck even after its stuffing fell out. He ate most of the white fluff when no one was looking.
Maggie bought Barney when he was a puppy. She had trained him to fetch, and there was nothing he loved more in summer than to go to the lake and catch sticks. He was a tremendous swimmer. Maggie joked that he thought he was a duck. He would chase after them in the lake barking as they took flight.
He watched them fly and Maggie would say, “You’re barmy, Barney. You’re a dog, not a duck.” He would lick her bare toes in response.
Maggie loved Barney, and holding his clay paw print in her hands after twelve years together seemed a wholly impossible end. He had been the best part of her day. How he would greet her at the door. How he would beg for food under the table with big brown eyes. How he would curl up on her icy feet in bed, keeping her warm.
Barney’s paw print was set on the mantel next to a photo of him holding his stuffed duck in his teeth.