When I was growing up, we had a wonderful, smelly, sweet, dumb dog named Sage. She was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, which meant she was built to hunt ducks and never get cold. She was deathly afraid of birds, so she couldn’t fulfill that particular calling, but she could brave our freezing Michigan temperatures like a Yetti—a lovable, clueless Yetti. In the winter, my dad would strap her to a sled and she’d pull my sister and me up and down the street. Looking back, it seems strange and just a little bit unkind, but she loved it. I think. We definitely loved it and she seemed to be pretty pleased. She served as both an exciting means of transportation and a great friend. Since the runs filled her with so much joy and we were such excellent company (and maybe because her brain was a little stunted), she couldn’t recognize her exhaustion. We would spend hours romping around in the snow and climbing all over her. Eventually, my dad would force her inside to rest and we would all collapse in front of the heater.
Now when I’m walking down a really snowy street, I think about how much better my journey would be if I had Sage around to pull me through it. The downside was that she left a trail of stink wherever she went, but there’s always a trade-off in life.