Yesterday, I see cars stop outside my windows….side street side. I see people get out of their cars. I see them pick up a small dog. I hear them talking. I watch them walk to my front door.
Is this your dog?
No. We talk about whose neighbors’ it might be. It is a small, red brown dachshund. I hear myself tell them that if they can’t find the owner, I’ll put her in the back. They can’t find the owner, and before I know it, I have her in my arms and take her to the back. I find a rug. I make a bed. I get water. She’s just a sidelight in a busy day. I close off the garage so she can’t get inside it, so I don’t run over her or she doesn’t run away. She never barks a sound. She lies on the rug like a tired, good girl.
I go off to write and then buy her some food. I call my husband to tell him. He grills me about what I am going to do. I’ll put up signs. She’s so docile she must have owners. I come home, give her food. She is still on her rug. I make signs, put them in a big circle around the house on busy streets. I take off again. She is now on the deck. I realize she is elderly. She is saggy baggy in a certain feminine area and her nipples show….so she has been a mama. She doesn’t greet me, but I pat her and tell her we will find her master beginning tomorrow.
When I come home late, I see her lying on the back door step, stretched out, relaxed and at her ease. The light from inside the house washes over her, and I am moved. I think about how she must miss her home. At the door, I reach down to pat her again, and I realize she is dead…………………………………
What does it mean? What if I had ignored the people walking to my door? That thought did cross my mind. I reverberate with her small passing for days, her tiny place in the space of my life, a little moment I rushed through. I talk about it with friends. I don’t understand. I think about Tennessee Williams’ line, I depend on the kindness of strangers. I think about the motto that was so popular a few years ago, practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty. Someone mentions my mother, who in her Alzheimer’s, is as dependent as that little dog. Is that the reverberation? I don’t know.
Do you? But practicing random kindness and senseless acts of beauty seems like a good way to love. I meant to write the word live just now but love came out. I’ll leave it. It’s somehow part of this little dog story.