He came to my door often, this oversized over-exuberant St. Bernard. The exuberance coursed through his body in every drop of excited blood. Tense tendons trembling. The air around him bounced with eagerness. He stood there with ears lifted, eyes alert, toy in his mouth, as though begging to play. His sheer size overwhelmed my doorway. His eager energy filled my house. Yet only an occasional tremble could be seen in his brow. And an underemphasized wag.
I would invite him in and he would respond immediately, moving quickly with each eager step. I was in constant anticipation of the exuberant leap, which would level me and put us nose to nose, licking and slobbering everywhere. Ugh! I feared the moment. I anticipated it every time. I braced myself for it. Yet it never came.
One day, however, I detected the slightest invitation. The Bernard inclined his head to my hand. I scratched his ears and patted his head. He rolled over and I rubbed his belly. I checked his eyes and he was sound asleep, paws hanging in mid-air. The eagerness and energy abated into a restful calm. Eyes closed. Ears fallen. Toy forgotten.