01 July 2008


We have a new neighbor. At the beginning of spring a young couple with a baby girl and young son moved in next door to us, along with their delicious chocolate lab that goes by the name of Kona.

Word has it that Kona is a little over one year old, so that makes him right about the same age as Sonny. How many times did I ever say when my kids were growing up and a neighbor’s house was for sale, I hope some kids the same age as my kids move in there.

At first meeting, Sonny was not so sure about this great big dog. Kona is built like Dolly, with a blocky head and full stocky body. Sonny has a runner’s body, long and lean, and though they are both about the same height, Kona easily has 20 pounds on young Son. But they were curious young dogs, and before long, they were running with each other, on their separate sides of the fence, in mirror image of one another, back and forth, run run run, twirl, turn, run run run.

The other day there was a commotion by my dogs in the doggie room. I walked in to find out what was going on and what do I see but Kona, standing up tall as if to reach the door bell on hind legs at the back door, nose pressed against screen, as though calling on Sonny and Dolly, come out and play! And Kona was smiling! Kona is a true character.

If I leave the gate to the backyard open when I let my two in, if Kona is out and hears us, he will run over and help himself to the backyard, hoping to find Dolly and Sonny for a quick run, a chase, and a tag you’re it. If I let my two out to visit, it is an amazing sight, and you need to step back out of the way quickly. You will see Dolly running like a young dog, with the two real puppies, blond lab, black lab, chocolate lab, the best dogs in the world, running circles, all in my backyard.

Looking out the kitchen window last week, I saw next to the compost heap, Sonny there, forehead to forehead with Kona, the fence between them, each digging furiously away, dirt flying up behind them. I imagine them as two little boys, plotting to dig a tunnel between their yards for easy access to play time, a passageway to adventure. Taking it a little further, I imagine next they will want to build a fort or pitch a tent and spend the night telling squirrel and bunny stories in the backyard, with a bowl of fresh water and a new box of biscuits to share. Or the walkie talkies they will need to stay in touch after they go in for the night.

On the days when Sonny is inside, and Kona is out, Kona will bark and bark until Sonny hears, to come out and play. On the afternoons when Sonny is out and Kona is not, Sonny will simply go sit in the corner of the yard by Kona’s house, looking longingly and expectantly, and wait, wait, wait, for his buddy to come out and run.

Kona is a wild man, and you have to be careful, because when he runs to greet you, sometimes you think he isn’t going to stop, and you have to either reach down to put on his brakes, step aside at the last moment or dare take a hit in the knees by that bulldozer of a dog. Dolly used to run to me like that, full force 85 pounds into my legs, to where a few times she knocked me clean off my feet. Those days are behind her now, but the torch has been passed to this young dog named Kona.

We are glad Kona and his people came to live next door to us. Life has taken on a nice new dimension with Kona and his people there.

It’s nice to have a friend next door.