As the animal crested the dune, she said, “Oh. My. God. What on earth is that?”
He glanced at her long enough for her to see the slight smile on his face, then said, “That’s my dog, Lilith. Lily for short.”
“There’s nothing short about that animal. Are you sure it’s a dog? ‘Cause it kind of looks like a miniature wooly mammoth. Or, maybe a small horse. A very hairy, small horse. Having a really, really bad hair day.”
“Shhhh. Don’t say that so loud. You’ll hurt her feelings.”
“Lily is very sensitive. She was the runt of the litter and well, if I hadn’t taken her home, they would have gotten rid of her.”
“Yeh, I know. Anyway, she was a little homely as a weanling pup.”
“I can see that.”
“Hey, now. That’s my dog you’re insulting.”
“I’m not being insulting, I’m being honest. She’s . . . really BIG.” The dog was only six feet away but didn’t appear to be slowing down. “Ummm. She will stop, won’t she?”
He turned back towards the dog and held one hand out palm forward, then slashed downward. The dog sat back on her haunches and slid the remaining distant showering both of them with sand. Tongue lolling, panting, Lily sat at their feet looking at them.
As he began brushing sand from his jeans, he said, “Sorry about that. She’s still a puppy so we haven’t quite mastered polite introductions.”
“Yes.” His eyes were crinkling at the corners.
“What type of dog is she?”
“Lily’s a mixed breed. Part Irish Wolfhound for sure, and the vet thinks maybe part Newfoundland as well.”
“She’s huge. And hairy.”
“Oh, she’s just a growing girl. She won’t reach her full potential until about three years of age. If she continues along the lines of her mother, she should weigh about one-hundred and thirty pounds and top out about a little under three feet in height.”
“Gawd. You mean to tell me she’ll weigh more than I do?”
He looked her over before saying, “Well, that’s not saying much, but she's probably nearly there now.”
“Hmmmm.” She looked down at the dog sitting between them. Lily looked up at her and stretched her mouth wide, happy with the attention of the two humans. “Did you see that? She smiled at me.”
He ruffled the fur at her head, and Lily leaned into him. “Dogs can’t smile, but she’s a very good-natured pup.”
Squatting down, she was eyeball-to-eyeball when she addressed the dog. “Just goes to show what he knows, doesn’t it Lily,” running her hands over Lily’s head then stroking her neck “By the way, Lily, everyone calls me Caro. I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Lily rumbled and slurped her tongue across Caro’s cheek in acknowledgement.