Addendum to “A dog to hug”

Dog walkingOn the morning of Sherlock’s last day of life, the family took him on his usual walk, although they didn’t think he would go far because he was clearly in pain. They left the leash at home.

In Sherlock’s wild, crazy youth, he needed a leash, but after a few years, he learned his boundaries. Once the family built a fenced area in the backyard to keep him away from the construction crew during the remodel of their home. On the first day of the remodel, a worker opened the gate, let Sherlock out, and played a romping game of Frisbee with him. From then on, Sherlock patiently waited on the sidelines until someone was ready to play. He never returned to the fenced area and the family joked about the money they wasted on it.

That last morning, without a leash, my sister and her family let Sherlock lead as they held back to see what he would do. They wanted him to lead so he could walk within his pain tolerance. Sherlock chose to walk right down the center of the street, something he had never done before. There were no cars that late morning, so Sherlock could take his thoughtful time. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing Sherlock was taking it all in, saying his goodbyes, and getting a little taste of the freedom he would soon have.

In A Rumor of Angels, there’s a quote from a letter written to Theodore Roosevelt that reads: “God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses.” Today, many of us would make that same statement in reference to dogs.