Ben is an extremely expressive dog.
He keeps us constantly entertained – not to mention continuously on alert -- with a variety of impressive vocalizations: From soft, guttural "Huff-huff-huffs" when he wants us to know someone or something outside is Up to No Good (for example, the newspaper delivery person, small children walking to school and young mothers pushing strollers. You know the type.)
. . . to what we call Ben’s Spoiled Bark, a single high-pitched (extremely) peeved yip when he's convinced he's been left out (eg, when one of us goes out to the garage)
. . . to the strange seal-like gargle he uses to express delight in an impending walk
. . . to full-out ear-splitting, doorbell-triggered rants that go on and on and on till he’s (pretty) sure my book group friends won't steal the family silver.
That being said. Ben’s facial expressions defy description in their emotional reach. They run the gamut:
Intense and imploring.
Rumpled and goofy.
Wise and all-knowing.
Focused on the important things.
Occasionally Sad and/or Stricken with Shame.
Slightly (slightly? mostly?) superior
Simply put, Ben has A Look for almost every occasion.
And when The Look coalesces into The Stare my heart is pierced, my soul surrendered.
Not the . . . THE SIDE STARE.