Tonight I was taking Delilah and Baci, 70 and 90lbs respectively, on a walk in the beautiful 70 degree air when I ran into an elderly lady, Mary, who lives down the street from me. Every day, she walks past our house, at a pretty good clip, with her husky at least once, and sometimes again with her neighbor's dog, and when we walk by her house she always comes over and makes a fuss over our two dogs.
Tonight, Mary was sitting on her front stoop when we walked by, and as usual she made a fuss over Dilly and Baci, but she was sad-seeming, and she said that she'd had her dog, Echo, put to sleep on Friday. The dog's arthritis had gotten too bad, and she had finally lost her eyesight. We talked for a bit, which is difficult because she's just deaf as a stone, and I think is missing most of her bottom teeth, so she's hard to understand, but what I got out of it was that she's, of course, very sad and lonely now, and that she was pretending to herself yesterday on her walk that Echo was walking really far in front of her.
I just felt so sorry for her, and was standing there wishing there was something I could do to make her feel better, when she perked up and said, 'hey! I know! How about I walk one of your dogs with you?!'
Uh.... well, I thought, that really wasn't what I had meant, but there it was, a chance to help her out, so... I said OK, and she jumped up, almost ran into her house to get her shoes, and we were off!
(Before you start to worry, let me reassure you that this woman is as fit as almost any of us, even though I'd put her at about 80. She stands straight and tall as I do, walks as fast as I do, and after seeing her with the other dogs in the neighborhood, I was fairly certain that she'd be OK with Dilly, especially with the pin collar on. I actually think she'd be OK with Baci, too, who is older and better trained, but I figured that if Dilly got away, she'd come right back rather than running off like Baci would probably do. )
We walked probably half a mile, with her stopping to talk to me every so often, because she can't make out what you're saying without looking at you. So, when she had something to say, she'd stop, grab my arm, and chatter on for awhile about half the time I wasn't sure what. She was happy, though, and spoiled Dilly ROTTEN, not making her heel, letting her sniff everything she wanted to, etc. When we got back to my house, she told me to look her up in the book and she'd walk with me again so she'd have something to do.
So, I apparently have made a new friend, or, more accurately, the DOGS have made a new friend. It wasn't what I had planned, but it's no trouble for me to swing by Mary's place once in awhile and get her until she gets another dog of her own. It's such a simple thing to do, especially since I'm walking anyway, and maybe it will make a big difference for her.
2 months ago