I just got back from a walk around the neighborhood that I took with Lilly over a thousand times in the almost exactly three years she was with us. I know the canine (even better than the human) residents of almost all the houses I passed. Amazingly, not one of them uttered a sound (that I could hear) on the half-hour walk.
The stars were out after a blustery, rainy day, and it was magnificent, as it always is; and was when Lilly and I would go for walks in the dark after dinner in the late fall and winter. She would have loved it out there tonight. Cold and crisp, no rain, but the ground, and the grass, freshly wet, tasty and smelly. She might pause for minutes to smell for other dogs’ scents, and maybe eat a good portion of grass, probably to help digest the leftovers of my meal (regardless of the amount or kind of spice or weird food in it). She would then play-bow, and out we’d go, into the wild, black yonder, to mark all her spots and interact – sometimes silently and sometimes not so much – with her “friends”, as I called them.
Lilly got me out just about every day – rain, snow, ice, wind, fog or even hot sun, sometimes in the beginning for up to four times a day! – for three years, and I now continue the routine, usually choosing somewhat different routes, but sometimes, like tonight, tracing our well-worn path around the Uppertown neighborhood in Astoria, where I live. As I have so many times before, I slipped on the slick street and almost fell, but couldn’t blame Lilly for diverting my attention as she would go after something, or not. And I also sloshed through a puddle in the street that I had sloshed through hundreds of times before, since even with a flashlight, my night vision isn’t very good, and even though I should have known it was there, my memory isn’t very good these days either. But the best part was the stars – which can be quite the show here in the outer reaches of the city – that made some of those walks with Lilly, otherwise slightly dangerous and often rushed, worth it, and then some.
Lilly has been gone just over a month, a victim of kidney and liver failure, possibly from something she ate or drank, or maybe it was just her time. She was almost 13 years old, which is getting there for her size and breed. She had a good life, but I’m still sad that we didn’t get one last winter – which she liked better than summer – to frolic in the snow (or at least the rain), get in a few hikes on the beach and on the trails, and see those stars.
Miss you, dawg-dawg.