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Walking and Talking

August 19, 2012

Goldie and I are walking slowly around the block. I mean, very slowly. The poor old girl just limps and gimps along, stopping every few steps to smell, which I think means she is catching her breath, because she never had to stop and smell so much before.

We approach a gang-member looking guy leaning against his fence. Tattoos on his neck, white t-shirt, black slacks, the usual.

He also has the shiny-eyed, blown-out-pupil look of someone who has a head full of chemicals not found in nature.

As we walk by, I say hi – I have seen him before and he is my neighbor, though one street over.

“I wish I was walking my dog,” he chokes out suddenly.

“Yeah?” I say, a little puzzled.

“Max, my schnauzer, he got run over right here,” he says, pointing at the street. “Now I can’t stop crying. I gotta stop crying.” He wipes his eyes on his t-shirt sleeve.

I stop and listen as he talks about Max, how much he loved that damned dog, how he was out walking him every morning at 6:30.

“That damn dog cost me fifteen hundred dollars,” he said.

“And he stole your heart,” I said.

He leans back from the fence and I see the pistol in his waistband. Whoa. But I figure a guy who is weeping over his dog probably won’t do me any harm just then, so we talk about Goldie, how old she is, what kind of dog. All the usual dog questions.

“I can never have another dog,” he said. “I could get another schnauzer, but there’d never be another Max.”

“You never know,” I say. “The day may come. When I got her, I wasn’t looking for a dog. She was just there in front of me and I knew she was mine.”

I asked his name and he told me, and I told him mine. Now we were real to each other. Beyond stereotypes, beyond gangs and problems and scary people. Just two people who love their dogs, meeting up on a Saturday afternoon.

9 Comments
  1. August 19, 2012 16:53

    Waiting for a friend to get ready so we can go dance and I wasn’t expecting to get a little weepy. Goldie is Beautiful.

  2. August 19, 2012 16:59

    What we share is much greater than what we don’t. Lovely short piece Suebob.

  3. August 19, 2012 18:16

    That poor broken boy. I am so glad you stopped to talk to him. This is proof that we are all really the same.

  4. August 19, 2012 19:16

    My across-the-street neighbors were gang members — tattoos on the necks and all — and they were also caring parents, and they came over and helped me start my pressure washer once, and they chased away some shady characters who were checking out my van… People are people.

  5. kizzbeth permalink
    August 20, 2012 09:51

    Damn dogs, they build us up then break us. Glad he found someone to talk to. Goldie is magic.

  6. Anonymous permalink
    August 20, 2012 11:02

    This is such a wonderful story – so many things to think about – don’t judge people how they look, and being available to help someone in need – a daddy who just lost his baby. You did a wonderful thing. Thanks for sharing.

  7. August 22, 2012 20:32

    I love this story, SueB0b. This is really good. And true.

  8. mar permalink
    August 23, 2012 12:01

    What everyone else said above. *nods*
    And Goldie is magic.

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