The Best Joke

The dog wears a chest harness when we’re out walking, but a choke collar otherwise. I forget why we switched to this configuration, but it works for us.

Anyway, this morning when I went to put the collar on him, he put his head up and then at the last minute, tucked his chin. Then he put his head back up, wide grin, tail wagging and when I moved in again, chin tuck.

“Are you teasing me?” I asked. He slipped his face through the collar.

Sometimes, you laugh with someone and you feel a familiar closeness. But when I laugh with the dog, I experience a kind of intimacy that comes across so much distance. We have so few ways of really understanding each other. We map our own experiences onto the other. I anthropomorphize him. I’m sure he canidopomorphizes me.

But sometimes the maps align. We aren’t compassionately almost understanding each other by ascribing the motivations we understand to each other.

We are sharing a thing. A joke.

It feels like a miracle. This utterly foreign being and I are sharing a joke.

How are we so lucky as to have dogs?

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