When I needed a dog on the Camino 

Wrought iron pilgrims on the Alto del Perdón in Navarra

Early on yesterday, I met a local and his mid-sized dog climbing down off of the Alto del Perdón. It looked like some sort of poodle, but he assured me it was a waterdog of some sort. 
We exchanged pleasantries in my atrocious Spanish, and I thought that was it. We’d walk a few minutes with his dog, which pleased me immensely, and at some point he’d head back home or stop in the next village. 

Instead, the two of them walked in parallel with me for nearly the whole day (more than 30 km). Sometimes we’d walk together, sometimes he’d move ahead or lag behind. 

He assured me the water in one village was delicious, as if I was going to pass up a chance to fill my bottle. And most importantly, what I assumed was a momentary encounter, became an entire day’s camaraderie. 

The dog became obsessed with an aluminum can at some point. Wanting him to play fetch, the eager little canine kept running back to get the can and then hightailing it back to the man who hadn’t broken his stride. 

After several attempts to get his guy to throw the can, the dog finally accepted there wasn’t going to be any game of fetch and on we went. 

I wanted to stop and acquiesce to the dog’s desire, but assured myself that was neither my place nor did we have the time. I knew I had a lot of ground to carry. Still unaware we’d be together most of the rest of the day, I was perturbed the man wouldn’t humor his dog. 

This is a long drawn out story that I’m still pondering, which is why it’s meandering so, but if I were to try to squeeze some meaning out of it at the moment, it’d be something about how long people are in your life and that your assumptions/expectations about such a thing are often preposterous. 

The other is that as much as I was missing my dogs, somehow there was a dog to walk with me for a good portion of the day. 

I don’t necessarily think everything happens for a reason and I’m hesitant to be so presumptuous to think any of that was planned; however, my thoughts did start wandering along the path of serendipity. Dare I say grace? 

Who knows. That little dog was fantastic, though. Highlight of my day, and that’s saying a lot. 

I had a damned good day.

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