Sunday, August 10, 2008

a man and his dog

There's an older gentleman in my town who drives a Subaru wagon, with the back seats folded down to accommodate his Alaskan malamute. They go on errands together.

During the hot summer days, the man sets a fan up to keep the furry dog cool while she waits patiently for her master to return. After buying his groceries, the man always goes straight to the back window, and says, "Here sweetheart, have a cookie."

This exchange, always warms my heart. There clearly is a love affair going on between this man and dog.

One day, I pulled into the parking lot of my local pet store. The man and dog had also just arrived. The man was peeking in the back window, and saw that his "girl" had gotten sick.

"Ohhhh, poor baby," he says.

He immediately went to the front seat for a large bottle of water and poured her a bowl. She lapped it up gently. He helped her out of the car and brought the large dog into the store. I followed them inside.

He asked one of the store clerks if she could watch his dog while he cleaned up his car. He explained that the dog was on antibiotics and they upset her tummy. The girl agreed. The dog sat and waited patiently for her man to return. Allowing customers to pet her. She is a big, furry sweetheart.

I am in love with her, and the relationship she has with the man. I don't know if this man has other family members in his life, but this dog is definitely his primary companion in life. She is treated like a queen.

A few weeks later, I happened to turn on the local news. I see a car, a Subaru wagon, has driven into a local grocery store. Someone must have had a heart attack or stroke while driving. The driver was taken to the hospital. The dog, who was in the car at the time, was not injured. An image of an Alaskan malamute, being petted by a bystander, appears on the screen. I make the connection between the Subaru and the dog. I burst into tears.

That was over a year ago. I have been looking for the man and dog ever since. Hoping, wondering if the man was OK. Did he make it? Did he survive? Were the two ever reunited?

Today, I went to the pet store and thought I saw the man in the parking lot. I didn't get my hopes up. I thought I had seen him before, only to be disappointed.

This man had a leash, and was walking his dog under a tree. I got out of my car, and walked around so I could see what kind of dog was at the other end of the leash.......

It was the big, furry, 100 pound Alaskan malamute.

I wanted to run over and hug the two of them, but I held back. I just smiled, and breathed a big sigh of relief. They were OK. They were together. That was all I needed to see.

I went into the store, and they followed. I sensed the dog on my heel. I turned, squatted down to pet her, and whispered in her ear, "I am so glad you're with him." She wagged her tail. Then, I left them alone to go about their day. The store clerk came over to help them.

The man said, "Can you help me pick out some treats for her, she has allergies, you know....."

I can't wait to see them again.

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