Ok well now I'm apparently the blogger who sometimes doesn't put up anything new for weeks but then will randomly post multiple times in one day. And I know how much everyone loves that blogger. Sorry. I am just way too excited about this to wait, and it would be phony of me to play it off as a regular post tomorrow.

Chaucer and I went for a walk a little bit ago up to Grand Park, where nine times out of ten, no one bothers us if I let him off leash. And today they're doing upkeep on the grass, so the whole thing is cordoned off with caution tape. No problemo - up in other parts of the park, there are some smaller sections that have natural enclosures due to the landscaping. So I take Chauc to one of these and we do our thing, which is a few minutes of grooming, then a few minutes of play, and so on until he's tuckered out and well brushed.

And mind you, this little area is about 300 square feet, so he doesn't have a lot of room. But I've got him off leash, and one of the security guards goes all hall monitor on me, even though a) there's really no place for Chaucer to get to, b) it's clear as day that I'm mostly grooming him, so he's right next to me, and c) it's also very obvious that he's 100% responsive to me and comes when I call him.

And I know the guy was just doing his job, and I don't want him to lose his job. I really don't. But the way he approached me was a little bit bullying, and I didn't really respond well to it. And if I could go back and do it over again I wouldn't have given the guy a hard time and reacted with entitlement (because duh, rules are rules, even for Ellie and Chaucer), but something about his tone just set me off, and ugh. It was not a pleasant interaction.

So I gathered our stuff and walked Chaucer up to the John Ferraro building where no one has ever complained once about us playing up there, because there's no security on the outside grounds. And on this walk up there I was a little bit frazzled and angry, and I basically let my emotions run away with me.

And though it's extremely embarrassing to admit, all I could think about was that I wish I'd had someone with me who would have stuck up for me and Chauc in that moment. And I know that sounds utterly ridiculous and appallingly 19th century, but the fact is, I have a soft spot for protective guys. And I don't mean machismo assholes who pick fights. I mean guys who instinctively want to place themselves between me and the source of danger/stress/bad juju/whatever. My whole life I had to deal with both an older brother and (for a big chunk of my childhood) a father who, rather than sticking up for me, either actively pushed me into the path of bullies (such as my brother), or generally ignored my complaints about being treated poorly and having my boundaries violated (such as my father, who refused to believe my cousins were mean to me when I was growing up, and would tell me to "suck it up").

And believe me, I know how distasteful an admission this is. How childish and weak and ridiculous it makes me sound. But please give me the benefit of the doubt that I don't want some hotheaded trigger-happy anger junky in my life. Ugh, no. But because the two men who were supposed to stick up for me as a kid didn't do so, now I just have a (no longer) secret appreciation of and fondness for guys who feel a sense of protectiveness towards me and demonstrate it, if the occasion merits, in a tactful, calm, and mature way.

It's one of the three ways to my heart, the second of which shall remain unnamed for OMGmystery but the third of which is, obviously, adoring my dog as much as I do.

Speaking of which.

So we got up to the fountain and again, it's mortifying to admit, but I was all worked up about this dumb encounter with the security guy, and having maybe not had the greatest day or the most amazing sleep the night before to begin with, I was a little bit maxed out. And frankly, all I wanted to do was go sit by the water with my dog and cry.

And that's what I did, for a minute or two, while I threw the ball for him.

But then he was being so hilarious and goofy, stalking a goose in the lake and trying to eat goose poop off the ground, which you'd think he had mistaken for fois gras, considering the gusto with which he went after it.

(Wally and I were texting at this time, and when I told him about the goose poop, he declared that I should expect hookworms any day now. So I've got that going for me.)

Anyway, there was a decent sunset forming, and one of my favorite pictures of him ever is a silhouette shot against the fading light of dusk. And I've always wanted to get some action shots of us playing. So I opened my self-timer app, set my phone on the ground, grabbed one of his balls, and called Chauc to me. I had him sit a few feet in front of where my phone sat, and kept him in a sit/stay until I heard the timer beeping. Then I bounced the ball hard, and he sprang for it like a boss.

And holy crap. For the next ten minutes, my dog was the Most Awesome Dog on The Planet.

And I don't say that lightly, because I know a lot of awesome dogs (I'm looking at you, Kafka and Bailey). And I don't want to claim that Chaucer has remained the MADOP. Because, come on. That would be ridiculous. I doubt any dog can hold the title for more than a few minutes at a time, unless maybe they've just won Best in Show, in which case, yeah, that glory probably lasts a good couple of hours.

So while no, Chaucer is no longer such, for those ten minutes, he was The Most Awesome Dog on The Planet. Because after that first timer went off, I ran over to check the camera roll, to see if we were anywhere close to being in frame and in focus. And I saw that not only did it come out decent, but it actually looked pretty spectacular, IMHO.

And so I made him do it again. And again. I made him do it about ten times. And he was enthusiastic and awesome and athletic each time. And I forgot all about the my run-in with the security guard, and about feeling needy and sad and pathetic, and I just thought how lucky I was to have this amazing animal as my companion.

We were fighting a fast-dropping sun and a fast-dying battery; I managed all of these pics on about 6% power, frantically running to reset it after each take. A few times the ball got kicked into the fountain and I jumped in quickly to get it; a few times Chauc didn't want to give it up and I had to wrestle it out of his mouth.

And I know the pics aren't perfect, I know there are buildings and trees preventing us from being perfectly clear silhouettes. But I don't give a shit. I love them so much. To me they've captured this perfect moment between us, where everything that was bringing me down dropped away, and there was only me and my dog, playing in the afternoon sun. And while I know I could probably redo them with him and make them amazing, find a place where the silhouettes would be whole and there's pretty grass instead of concrete - I don't want to. For one thing, he shouldn't be jumping around all high like that; it's bad for his hips. And a reenactment would feel like cheating, anyway. But all of that aside, I love that they're imperfect.

Because so are we.

And I really do try to keep to my policy of not reposting stuff from Instagram with dumb "IG dumps" or "photo dumps" because WTF, do bloggers really think their readers need to see that stuff twice? But in this case, I'm showing them here first, so sneak preview, woohoo! And I also don't know which pics I'll put on IG, or when, or how I'll edit them (these are all an array of AfterLight filters), so they'll possibly look very different, anyway.

ENOUGH TALK. Here's my guy, being his fantastic self:

Could not love him more.