Adam Thornton

October 2, 2019

“Arnold Comes Home” happens to me

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

Long-time listener, first-time caller (actually untrue.  We enjoyed–well, I enjoyed, anyway–a short email correspondence probably twenty-some years ago, in which you described me as a “closet Shapiroist,” which is as true now as it was then).

At any rate: “Arnold Comes Home” just happened to me.

I lost my dear old goofy dog Argus a little over a year ago.  Cancer sucks.  This past weekend, I met a dog at Pima Animal Care Center, a foundling, whose physical resemblance to a young Argus was somewhere between “striking” and “uncanny.”  He’s somewhere between a year and two years old.  No longer a puppy, but definitely still youthful.  He put his chin on my arm like Argus used to, and I was smitten.

I live with two other dogs; a neurotic (as if there were another kind) Border Collie named Naga, and a big red Hound Of Uncertain Origin named Spot.  Spot is amiable to everyone, human or canine, but Naga wants to sort all other nonhuman mammals into “sheep” or “wolf” and behave accordingly, so I was a bit worried.  I need not have been.

As with Juno and the housecats, my dogs’ reaction to the new tenant was…much less anxious than I thought it would be.  I find it tough to characterize it as anything other than “hey, Argus is back.  Cool.”

The surprising-to-me thing is how much I feel the same way.  He’s clearly not the same dog, but…the same dog if he had a big slobbery drink from the Lethe before turning around and coming back?  Quite possibly.  He snuggles like Argus, he bounce-plays like Argus, he wags his whole back half like Argus.

I think his name is Blink this time around.

Thanks for writing that piece.





Daniel replies:

This happens. It's happened to us, more than once, and it's happened to others. I suspect maybe the old departed dogs stick around in a form we can't see and show the new dogs the good places to lie in the sun or shade and where the good weeds to make you throw up live. Good luck to you and your weird hairy friends. Also your dogs.