Have you ever met a couple you knew was perfect together? A couple that was meant for each other? That’s the way I feel about a man named Cecil and his bulldog Rocky. Over the past year, they’ve been regularly showing up on the greenway. Cecil is black, a war vet who wears a handlebar mustache, Semper Fi baseball caps, and T-shirts that read my priority is the Second Amendment. Rocky looks like your stereotypical bulldog, short and squat, all wrinkles and snorts.
Even from afar, they look like they belong together. Cecil ambles along and smokes his cigarette, while Rocky leisurely lifts his leg on every tree he can reach. For a few weeks, we greeted each other with a good morning. Then, one day Cecil said, “If I could talk dog, I’d ask him what’s so damn interesting about that tree right there.”
I laughed, and I laughed out loud. On a million different occasions, I’ve wanted to ask my dogs that same question about things that capture their attention. It was the first time Cecil made me laugh but not the last.
Whenever I see them, Cecil shares some funny tidbit about life with his bulldog Rocky. Once, he told me Rocky ordered a flux capacitor on Amazon so he could visit the Wild West. On another occasion, he said the Clarksville PetSmart banned Rocky for stealing too many treats from the stash at the register.
Cecil swore Rocky solved a physics formula about acceleration. And another time, the bulldog couldn’t decide whether to spend his allowance on Modern Dog magazine or a pack of Nathan’s hotdogs. Actually, Cecil and Rocky spend a lot of time debating the merits of food, like the texture of certain steaks or honey versus spicy mustard.
A few months ago, I started giving Rocky a peanut butter treat. Okay, maybe I give him two or three. But, I can’t help it. Rocky is quite the charmer with his squashed face and tank-like body. Every time he sees me, his whole behind sways and his snorting grows louder. I consider it his thank you.
I look forward to seeing Cecil and Rocky because they make me laugh, but also because they remind me about the special connection between people and animals. They remind me it’s a bond that crosses every race and every class.
I don’t know a lot about Cecil and Rocky, like how they became friends or when they moved to Springfield. I don’t even know why they started walking on the greenway. But my guess is all they have is each other, and I couldn’t imagine a better couple.