Another Walk with Smokey

This morning, I brought my car, Rooney, to a nearby service station because of a problem with her headlight. She tends to wink at all the other cars on the road, which might be cute, if it weren’t the sort of behavior that earns the attention of State Troopers way too often. I decided I needed one less stress factor in my life and called the garage. What I didn’t consider was that the garage couldn’t attend to the headlight immediately, and I found myself on foot for the bulk of the day.

So, I called my boss and explained that I was taking an unplanned day of vacation, and then I gave some thought to the new form my day had taken.

My first reaction was to find my camera, of course, and the next move was a hike to the Town Clerk’s office. Here in suburbia, we must license our dogs, and it was the usual time to renew Smokey’s license, were she still alive. I was fine until I got to the counter, and had to say those words out loud: my dog died.

Our Town Clerk is a lady I’ve known nearly as long as we’ve lived here; she was so gracious and understanding while I blubbered… if the Town Dogcatcher was in, he would have cried right along with me, though. Smokey and Dave had a relationship close enough that Dave would call me before he actually “arrested” her on those days when she’d get loose and explore all her favorite places. She was always so pleased to see him when he showed up that he didn’t have the heart to put her in the kennel.

I realized that, years ago, Smokey would have loved taking today’s hike with me, but toward the end of her life she could not have done so. Her hip dysplasia made even the shortest distances agonizing treks, and she wisely stayed put and listened to whatever we had to tell her while we scratched her ears.

Today, she was able to come along on the walk, though, as graceful and curious as she ever was, and she never once wrapped the leash around my legs or tried to launch in pursuit of a squirrel or chipmunk. The relationship hasn’t ended in death after all.

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