Loop the leash to your left wrist. This is the first step in faith: verify, then trust. Gently lock the right arm under the jaw and rest the hand on Petey’s flank where it might assure him that again, finally, all is right in the world outside his run. This is an embrace. Use the left hand to stroke his jaw and head and control any lunges which may come as he seeks your face to kiss. He is leaning into you now, his body letting go. Begin to move your hand softly, a light touch please, along the crown of his head.
His breathing will quiet, his eyes dip shut in slow motion. Continue, but not for too long. His energy has merely taken repose. It waits. This exercise should calm, only — the trance applied whose goal is to make the promise that he is loved, that the world of men is not alone a place of fear and hunger. Loosen your grip. Let him raise his head to you. Do you think all this exercise is just for him? If we trust, our cracked and weeping joints and seams might too be fused and this moment hold both of us for another day.