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The life of a modern vagabond requires thrift and cunning and more than a little help from your friends. In the three weeks since I kicked off the great wrong-way trip to the southwest, I've borrowed everything from swim goggles to kids, from toothpaste to towels.

This week I'm borrowing something of a different sort: a dog that reminds me so much of my own. The similarities are uncanny. The flaps-down ears. The impatient late-night pacing. The weary head tucked between a comfortable pair of knees. It's as if my buddy has been transported here, hundreds of miles away, by an inexplicable act of magic.

And when I rub my borrowed dog's ears, I fancy that my buddy can somehow feel it wherever he is: two fingers and a thumb kneading on one end, two soft doggy eyes growing heavy on the other.

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My Buddy
August 2009