Thursday, August 03, 2006

Old Friends

Sparkey and Tina and I went over to our old neighborhood this evening to visit some sweet former neighbors, one of whom is Sparkey's canine puppyhood friend, Amos, who is one year Sparkey's junior. On the way over in the car, I opened all the windows and drove slowly through the forested roads, Tina with her head out the window, sniffing madly. Sparkey looked out the window as well, and I accompanied our ride with a running commentary of memories of the neighborhood which we left in 1999 and where the dogs spent their formative years.

Turning the corner onto the street of our destination, lo and behold, there was Amos wandering in the road. I pulled the car to a stop and called his name, Amos bounding over in a very energetic way for such an old dog. He wagged his tail and whimpered, following our car and taking a short cut across the neighbor's yard (just like the old days) and meeting us at the top of the driveway.

Amos' maternal unit greeted us warmly and the dogs were affectionate with her, obviously remembering her scent, as well as her loving demeanor. We proceeded to sit in the grass and talk over chips and salsa, the dogs thoroughly enjoying the crunchy nuttiness of the flax seed corn chips which they readily gobbled.

Unlike the old days, Sparkey and Amos didn't really play, but like old men on a porch, contemplating the winter of their lives, they watched the trees, felt the warm air of the summer night, and lay in our midst as the pack animals they truly are, obviously contented, panting, and satisfied. Even Tina has become somewhat less playful, and spent an hour or so lounging in the grass at my side, the lassitude of these extraordinarily hot August days in full control of her energy output.

A short walk down the street revealed to Amos' mum just how weak Sparks has become and how slow his dragging gait truly is. At a certain point in the walk, the leashless Sparkey simply chose to hobble up to the front porch of a very attractive and well-appointed country home and made it clear that he wanted to mount the steps and knock. Dissuading him, I donned the leash and urged him towards our friends' home and our waiting car. (This new habit of simply wandering off at will and walking up to other homes is an interesting turn of events.)

Overall, it was a successful trip down Memory Lane, and we hope to take the boy on similar outings in the next month or so, especially when the weather isn't too oppressive. After his hospitalization at Easter, we were told he might live two months, and here we are approaching 110 days since discharge from the ICU. We count our blessings and will continue to assist Sparkey in connecting with his past, seeing his loved ones and friends, and making the best of these latter days.



abbie said...

Sweet, sweet, sweet memories. Your story brought bittersweet tears to my eyes as I know we are on the same path with Amos. I will hold onto the memory of the five of us sitting in the sunshine together, as before, and feeling the peace. Things are as they should be.
Thank you, Keith. Love and hugs, Abbie

Keith, RN said...

Thanks, Abbie. We'll have to do it again while the boys are still with us.