Feathers and farewells

If you have a dog, then you may be familiar with the bond that can form with fellow dog-owning neighbors.  Most mornings, one of us takes our high-energy guy to the park for a game of long-distance fetch.  Months ago, we started seeing a young couple and their two dogs, white pit-mix Penny and black, bouncy border collie- mix Otter, at the park.

Eric is a lanky, quietly intelligent man with a boyish face and smile, and Jackie is a sharp woman with a laid-back, natural beauty, and a confident smile.  Eric is more overtly sensitive, and it was he who told me that they are moving this coming Saturday.  We knew the situation was developing, so it wasn’t a total surprise, but today would be our last meeting until they surface for a housewarming, miles and a bridge away.

When our dog Vasco is at home relaxing, he couldn’t be much more cuddly than he is.  During play, though, he is entirely focused on the ball.  Eric has been trying to pet Vasco for months, with very limited success.  Usually, he can’t even make contact.  It has always made me feel the tiniest bit bad, watching Vasco appear aloof to a kind soul who would love to just rub his head a little.

We said our goodbyes, exchanged emails, and each took off in opposite directions from the middle of the expansive park.  As I was getting toward the exit, a bunch (more than 50) of small, white feathers started inexplicably floating down around Vasco and me.  It appeared that they were coming from nowhere!  I looked up and all around for some horrific baby bird murder scene, a random nest that had fallen- just an explanation for the feathers.  While I was checking things out, I was ignoring Vasco.  I looked up to see him charging across the park, all the way to and out of the exit where Eric was at his car with Otter and Penny.  He has literally never done that.  Vasco ran right up to Eric and I saw him pet our dog on the head briefly before he returned to me.

I was thankful that those feathers had fallen and kept me from putting the leash on Vasco so that he could say a proper farewell to a soul who has appreciated him.  It was a magical start to the day, and the way to remember it properly is to write it down.  So I did.