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Close encounters of the dog kind

I always ask my clients to let their dog greet me at the front door they way they would with any other guest.

I like to see how a dog reacts to the arrival of a stranger on his home turf; it tells me a lot about the dog’s temperament and standing in the house.

If I could describe the greetings I have received over the years in a poem, here then is an ode to the exuberance of dogs at the door:

How do I greet thee? Let me count the ways.

I greet thee by body-checking you at full running force.

By leaping on your legs front, side and back.

By pawing with razor-like nails at your exposed skin.

By licking the air next to you with damp tongue.

Or by licking you. Over and over and over.

I greet thee by hugging you close with my great strong paws clasping your upper arm,

And by leaning against your unstable knees.

By twirling at your feet until you trip over me.

By punching you with my quick, moist nose.

Or by grasping your pant leg with my clenched front teeth and tugging.

I greet thee by nipping your boot and backing away barking.

And I greet thee by crawling to you and flipping over to expose my belly.

And by submissive peeing when you glance my way.

And if you choose, I shall greet thee by racing through the house like a maniac.

Or by lying in the sun, raising my head, looking at you, and going back to sleep.

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