Heaven of a Different Sort

If my trip to the ocean and the concert this weekend were spiritual experiences for me, Sunday brought heaven of a different sort. As a dog lover, the Shelburne Museum Goes to the Dog event may have been the canine equivalent of Paradise. Instead of loved ones strolling on streets of gold, dogs of all different breeds, sizes and colors greeted us beside owners just as diverse. Swimming pools to cool dogs off, water bowls to refresh them and a maze of doggie games, activities, and vendors dotted the pristine and picturesque lawns of the Shelburne Museum. Baggies to dispose of waste were in easy reach and no one restricted the dogs from sniffing each other and going where they pleased. Yes, they were all on leash, which might make it a little less heavenly for the dogs, but my pugs Alfie and Waffles bounded up to mammoth Irish Wolfhounds and petite Chihuahuas alike, gleeful to get to know their brethren.
We walked the grounds, browsing vendors that included therapy dogs, rescued pugs and greyhounds, retired veterinarians turned authors, dog fencing and more and literally stopped to smell the flowers along the way. As the dogs sniffed each other becoming a tangle of tails and leashes, owners chatted about names and breeds. The sun engulfed the venue in a golden glow all day, the grass blazed green. The sky could not have been a more vivid shade of blue. Everyone smiled including the dogs.

I was happy to bask in the peaceful chatter, happy barks, unceasing tail wags. Everywhere I looked there was something new to see, another dog to pet. It was a cozy end to a perfect weekend.
Unlike the exultation elicited in me by the ocean and the concert the days before, this day conjured feelings of comfort and quiet joy. Here, old and young, big and small, working dogs and toys, herders and terriers all played as one. We, humans strolled beside them, their faithful companions. It was another piece of heaven, but of a different sort. Here, I felt content, a part of the pack. It seemed for a day we all had come home.