Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane


A walk down memory lane with my late dog Jake
I started walking outdoors today. The air had a little snap to it, so I opened up my windows and turned on the attic fan. Oh the heavenly smell of fresh air as it danced around my head. Six dogs took notice of it too. Normally sprawled out on my chairs and couch, six bellies up in the air, six dogs suddenly started to come to life. They watched with keen interest as I laced up my New Balance walking shoes. Bray, my timid black Afghan mix, actually pranced around the living room. Chloe, the Chi, noisy as ever, yapped loudly, dashing back and forth across the floor. Dear Foxy, my old dog, now thirteen, raised her head from the floor. I heard it thump back down as she decided if it wasn't time to eat, she was not moving her thin, frail body. Annabelle, the old hound dog/beagle mix, just yawned and put her head back under the throw pillow. She is a whenever dog. By that I mean, she only moves whenever she feels like it. The air got her nose out from under her pillow. That was the most movement from her since breakfast, when she ate, and crawled back on the couch. Of course Rascal, the bull dog mix, and Miss April In Paris, my hunting dog mix, ran for the back door, tripping over each other, popping out onto the patio in a frenzy of barking. Chloe ran behind them and the three dogs raced for the back yard.

I slipped out the front door. I wanted to take a walk and enjoy a bit of quiet. It was such a glorious afternoon I wanted to drink in all the delights that come with the beginning of fall. I am sure this was a false start, as the weather is due to warm up again. But for today, I was in heaven.

I headed up the street looking at my neighbors yards and a familiar feeling came over me. I remembered walking my old dog Jake on that triangle where the street deadends into my yard. Jake and I would head down the driveway, walk up one side of the street, only a short distance, cross over and come back to the house. The huge Rosemary bush would leave Jake smelling heavenly as he stumbled against it and rubbed his nose on the short spiked branches. I stumbled into it myself today. I must admit, I came home smelling yummy.

Jake. My dog who had to be walked with a rear end sling. I only had two dogs then. Jake, my ninety-five pound German Shepherd, a dog that had showed up in my yard eight years earlier and Foxy, the dainty German Shepherd/Malamute mix who came to the house as a seven week puppy.

Jake's legs were not working well, then not working at all. He had a neurological problem, not hip dysplasia. But he liked to get out and exercise those legs. Some days he'd make it back fine, other days he'd stop and I'd have to put a sling under his hind end, and haul his butt up the driveway. Then there were the days he would just sit and smile at the sky. I had to roll the wheelbarrow down the drive and scoop him into it. A task easier said then done. Jake left me April 2009. A month later, dogs starting moving in from the local shelters!

Thinking of Jake today brought back so many memories. He was a happy dog and loved life. He didn't care he couldn't walk. He just loved to sit and be part of the family. It is amazing how memories can be triggered by the smallest things. Today a fall breeze was all it took.

I pulled out a few old photos of Jake and Foxy. Foxy has aged so in the last year, but I didn't need photos to know that. You can feel her bones when you run your hand across her side. She still holds her own with the new dogs. I remember someone saying to me that month that Jake left, "Maybe you shouldn't get another dog. Foxy is old and it may be more than she can handle."

I am glad I didn't listen to that. But when do I ever listen to advice? The new dogs keep Foxy active. So don't be fooled by that old wives' tale.

Today's walk, the smell of the air, the hint of fall, was more than a walk to enjoy the day. I had a walk down memory lane with my old pal Jake. His  smile was as bright in my mind as it was when I hauled his butt up the drive with a sling and a wheelbarrow.

Jake enjoying the ride.


Foxy and Jake on another fall day.