Today Dover and I went to the Amherst Common Market, where we strolled among the cabbages, radishes and flowers, not to mention kids, other people, and assorted dogs. We had a fine stroll, and Dover spent a most of his time meeting and greeting - every five or six steps, to be exact - people who stopped and asked to pet him.
After a few turns around the market and a stop at a Peace in the Middle East table, we went and had a midmorning coffee and snack with some friends at Amherst Coffee. We sat at a sidewalk table, where Dover settled down, content with the occasional dog biscuit bribe, never guessing what treasures lay on the table over his head. Traffic on the sidewalk was heavy, and as people passed by, they stopped to pet him, talk with him, talk with us about life in general or, more likely, dogs in general, which is pretty much the same as talking about life.
All shy people should have a dog. I might say that Dover is my assistant - drawing people in, starting conversations, returning compliments, and bringing out the best in all who make contact, even if it is just a glance and a smile as they hurry by.
The added bonus is that by just being there, Dover's presence on the sidewalk ups the happiness quotient of the world.
I can think of hardy any better job than that.
Photo: A passer-by shares her water with Dover at the July 4th parade.