Last spring, we crossed paths with a woman who shared her life with one our regulars, an uncharacteristically docile fox terrier. On that afternoon, she was alone. As we neared each other, I recognized the red, raw eyes, drooping shoulders, and slow, shuffling walk. I too have experienced that pain.
She stopped walking as tears flowed uncontrollably. Through her sob-interrupted explanation, I understood that the still-young terrier had become suddenly ill and did not survive. That day she was taking a final walk with only his memory to accompany her. Like many in the aftermath of a dog’s death, she avowed to never have a pet again—it’s too hard to say good-bye, I don’t want to be tied down.
“..it’s too hard to say good-bye, I don’t want to be tied down”
The petite terrier jerked his owner from tree to hydrant to mailbox post and back again. But the woman didn’t care. Her head held high, her jaunty stride, and her laughter as she nearly hogtied herself with the retractable leash told me she had returned from the empty-souled land we enter after loss.
“I’m so happy for you,” I said, giving her frisky new companion a wide berth to avoid having my shepherd ensnared in his leash. She looked down at the bundle of energy she was connected to and grinned. “I am, too.”
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