Dover has two jobs. His first is to bring the paper in every day, which involves leaping down the front steps, fetching the paper, killing it (left), and then, tearing back up onto the porch and into the house, delivering up his prey, (right) and, of course, sitting to receive his daily wage.
Dover learned this job from Jonah. I taught Jonah by getting d
own into dog position, picking up the paper in my teeth, and crawling towards the front steps. (All this was carried out in full view of the neighborhood.) Jonah looked on with pity and from that day onward he saved me the indignity of having to repeat this lesson.
Dover's other job is to visit people in nursing homes and other places where people are in eager need to touch his soft fur and gaze into his eyes (see July 11). He loves both jobs, and while sometimes I think this love stems from his knowledge of the treats that await him at jobs' conclusion, I basically know he loves the leap off the porch, the toss of the paper, the touch of the hands, and the soft exchange of a gaze with someone connected to the hands behind his ears. We too value participating in useful work and hanging out and shooting the breeze with our friends.
Dover of course has many other unofficial jobs: one is keeping his tennis balls in order.
Still Life with Tennis Balls.