Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Dog Park

There is a really neat dog park near us. 25 acres of dense woods with groomed walking trails, a large open field for playing a good game of fetch, and lots of waste stations to make any necessary deposits. A few years ago Dean and I would go take the dogs to the park almost every morning. The dogs loved the park. I am not ashamed to brag a bit, and say our dogs were always among the most well behaved dogs there. I don't remember when we stopped going to the park, or why, but we did. At some point it was no longer part of our daily routine. I feel a bit guilty for that.

Tonight I decided to take Dudley back to the park he loved so much. He's 10 years old now. A gentleman. As we walked in among all the other dogs greeting this new guy, he walked right past them. Not about to be impolite, he let them sniff as he walked by. But he was with his mom, and his mom was walking. A tear silently running down her face, she was walking.

Dudley remembered the park. I could feel him remembering places as he sniffed here and there. Only twice did he leave his mark because mostly he was intent on being by my side. Occasionally someone would meet us on the trail, their dog running ahead to say hello to Dudley, but he just kept walking. Ignoring the dogs. Ignoring the people. Never giving anyone a second look except for one handsome young couple, the young man in particular. There was something about him that Dudley recognized or was alerting to. "Funny." I said. "He hasn't said hello to anyone here tonight, but he is intent on greeting you."

"Oh, probably because I have treats!" the young man said.

I watched my boy. I listened to his silent thoughts.

"No. He didn't indicate you have treats, and he doesn't care about them. He's trying to tell you something you probably don't know yet. If there is something you need confirmation about, he just gave it to you."

I wanted to say, "Maybe you have cancer! He told me I did. He loved me through it. Maybe you just made a big decision and he's telling you its ok. Maybe you have a baby on the way and he's telling you now. Maybe...."

But the young couple probably already thought I was nuts so I held my tongue and left them to wonder about the crazy lady with the tears in her eyes.

And we kept walking.

We hadn't gone half way around the park when I noticed Dudley had slowed down quite a bit. Already tired. Even though I had released him when we entered the park he still stayed in perfect heel position, his big furry, bear-like feet matching steps with mine. I slowed my steps, savoring our time together.

When we made it back to the gate I broke the rules, letting Dudley through the double fence off-leash. He never left my side as we walked to the van, waiting patiently for me to open the door before hopping in.

And then Dudley did a very odd thing. As we pulled out of the parking lot he turned backward in the seat, watching the dog park as we drove away. He stayed there the entire drive home. Watching the world behind him, as if to get one last look. I have no doubt that he knows tomorrow is goodbye forever.


Kate said...

This post is just so beautiful....Hugs to you and your family. I'm so sorry that you had to make that terrible decision, and am so sorry for your loss....

Cindy said...

Oh gosh, I'm crying now! Poor Dudley. Even though our pets don't speak our language, they sure communicate a lot with us. We had a black lab for 10 years that we had to put down due to cancer. One of the hardest things I've ever done. Just this past January we put down our daughter's dog Sugar (a Westie) due to tumors on her brain causing seizures. I know your heart is breaking and I'm so sorry for your loss.