We, the shop dogs of Parnassus, have had very good lives. We’ve got our pack, we’ve got our people, we’ve got all the books any dog could ever dream of napping in front of. Still, there is one small, nagging sadness in our lives: None of us knew our dads.
You may say, that’s not surprising for a dog who got his start at the Humane Shelter (Sparky) or on the side of the road (Opie), but even the fancy purebreds among us (Marlee and Barnabus) never knew their dads. Where were they! It’s hard not to curl up in a dog bed at 10 o’clock in the morning and wonder.
No one taught us how to fetch a tennis ball or beg for treats or bark at the UPS truck. We had to figure those things out on our own. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not feeling sorry for ourselves, but we have long wished for someone to call Pops. That’s why Father’s Day has always been a wistful holiday for the Shop Dogs. If we knew where our dad was, we’d fetch some slippers for him to tear up. We’d bring him a biscuit in bed.
But thanks to Charles, this year feels different around the store. As soon as Charles came on staff, we started talking about it. We’re not saying that Opie is Charles’ dad — he probably isn’t — but don’t you see a pretty strong resemblance? Opie certainly saw it. Right away, he stepped up to show Charles the lay of the land. He taught Charles how to greet customers, how to wander with authority, and when to take some time for himself in the backroom. He showed Charles what it means to be a truly great shop dog. In short, he treated Charles like a son, and, in doing so, filled up the empty place in Charles’ heart where his dad should have been.
And what did Opie get out of this arrangement? He got a pup to call his own. What could be better than that?
Nothing could be better than that.
So if you’ve got a dad, the shop dogs urge you to celebrate him. And if your dad is gone, we say, there could be some father-like dog, or father-like human, who you might want to acknowledge. All the fathers should be celebrated, biological or otherwise, known and unknown, because it’s a beautiful thing to be alive. Thanks, Dad.
Opie’s shop person, Andy, is our go-to specialist for Father’s Day recommendations. He sat down with Opie and Charles to make up a list of books that the fathers and father stand-ins would appreciate. (In all fairness, Andy did most of the book picking, since Opie and Charles were pretty worn out from all the petting and attention and treats they’ve been getting.)