The Paws That Refresh

Forget RinTinTin. Forget Lassie. And weep no more for Marley.

In this bright New Year, my heart belongs to Tillman, the snowboarding, skateboarding, surfboarding bulldog extraordinaire.

I first saw Tillman skimming along on his skateboard a year or so ago in a video clip. Cute, I thought. Little did I know that millions of fellow Americans would share my fondness for the squat, chubby, daredevil pooch.Tillman the Wonder Dog

Seattle is full of dogs and it’s not uncommon here to see dogs going the extra mile to please. Some pull their owners along on skateboards, others accomplish acrobatic feats with Frisbees and whatnot. But I have yet to see any canine equal Tillman for sheer charm and entertainment value. So this morning, when I crawled out of bed with a dull headache to face the New Year, and went down to watch a bit of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, I was delighted to see Tillman and three of his pals boldly sliding where no dogs have slid before, down a specially constructed record-breaking long float.

Man. I don’t know what it is about that dog. I have never had the slightest desire to snowboard myself, and I tend to feel that skateboarding is best left to those with a lower center of gravity, but watching Tillman in action just makes me smile. Say what you will about Americans being a bit unbalanced when it comes to pets. I don’t care. The modern world is full of peril, problems and petty bickering. Yet if a dog like Tillman can banish gloom, even temporarily, that gives me hope for us all. Perhaps we can’t all move through life with the kind of grace and resilient good cheer that Tillman exudes.

But this year I’m going to give it a try.

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