Dan and His Dogs (Day 13/365)
“Where are the dogs?” Jerry asked when we met up with him.
Dan’s house is the last one before the wooded area on the street where Jerry and I often walk. He was shoveling snow this morning when Jerry asked about the dogs. He leaned on his shovel, and slowly answered. “Had to put them down. Been awhile now.”
While we were living in Lake Havasu we weren’t able to stay in close touch with all our neighbors here, and we hadn’t known about Dan’s dogs. There were times when we used to be a little afraid of Dan’s dogs because sometimes they would be running loose when we neared the woods. One day, though, Dan was out and assured us neither of them would bite. They were both mongrels and had been abandoned in the woods. Dan took them in and had them for 14 years. Apparently one of the dogs had been terribly mistreated for he would never let anyone touch him–not even Dan, who had taken him in and fed him for years. He would go inside Dan’s house, but would not allow a human hand to approach him.
“…had to put them down,” now Dan said. “Took the smaller one in one day, and the next morning, his buddy just could not get up. Joined at the hip, they were.”
I don’t know for sure if Dan’s eyes welled up this morning as he told us this, but he did take a step or two from us and averted his head for a minute, in that way men have when they don’t want to show their emotions.
We stood together this morning, we three, talking of dogs and snow and health and of aging and how it changes one. We watched two large birds as they wheeled far in the sky. Occasionally when they would soar into sunlight at just the right angle, we could see flashes of scarlet. “Aren’t those hawks?” I asked.
“Red Tails,” Dan said. “Red Tail hawks.”