Friday, April 28, 2006

"Won't you be my neighbor?"---Fred Rogers (R.I.P.)

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood,
a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
would you be mine?
could you be mine?
won't you be my neighbor?

Today was a live version of Mister Rogers' neighborhood with Sparkey and Tina and me:

We saunter down the footpath to the pond where the 3 of us hang out, smelling the air, just being with Mother Nature and enjoying the present moments like dogs can do so well. We rest in a sunny/shady spot (so all will be happy) where I have taken a liking to brushing Sparkey. (He has been shedding his winter coat all winter, but now he does so in springtime earnest.) I am brushing away, but ever so gently, noticing more intimately how much more thin he has become, how little flesh there is between the brush and Sparkey's bones, so I am more careful with the poor old guy. But he's not in pain and is tolerating the attention, especially enjoying my talking to him and scratching around his ears. (Sparkey has been an itchy scratchy guy all his life but now he can't even scratch his itches very well and has fallen down too many times trying. He used to love rolling around on his back as an expression of his bliss)...

With Sparkey's golden hair flying all about in the breeze, it occurs to me that local birds may be interested in some fluffy nest material so I tuck a huge handful into a bush branch. Taking in the sight, strangers smile warmly at us as they drive slowly by, some neighbors stop and chat from their cars and I invite them to Sparkey's living trubute party on our forested lawn this weekend.

Along comes the mail truck with our favorite mail carrier at the helm! This woman is a hero of ours for extending her kindness over the years to Sparkey and Tina, going out of her way many times to place 2 biscuits with our mail and always, I mean always, stopping to say hello with ample treats in hand whenever we see her. On this day when she sees us, she parks the mail truck and crosses the street with her ever-reliable doggie treats in hand. We talk pet talk and then she mosies on with her important work.

On our way home, a consistently dog-friendly walking neighbor asks about Sparkey and pauses to bestow lots of affection upon both canine pals. I tell her about the baby owls in the nest perched high in a tall white pine tree nearby.

And finally, when we make it back to our driveway, over comes someone from the neighborhood home for people with developmental disabilities to see how the old boy is doing. The staff there bought a jar and filled it with treats, each employee signing a card for Sparkey's recovery from the hospital!

I agree with Anne Frank, and will paraphrase her here, that people are basically good. We are indeed blessed to live in such a place, especially this sometimes Fred Rogerian neighborhood. Sparkey is loved by almost all here, and his remaining days with us are all the more special by sharing him with others.


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