On the day Wilson’s owners came to pick him up after 7 days of constant concern whenever he was in his kennel and knowing his every poop so I could carry it home in a baggie, I sat near the open front door in anticipation of their arrival.
Wilson did not know why we were there. As he had not done before, he rested his head on my knee as I squatted. Then he would trot away, but return, his chin or cheek on my knee right at that level.
This left a searing sensation near my chest. A clutching. A distant memory.
As his owners’ car pulled parallel to my home and then into the driveway, I exclaimed, “Wilson, look whose here! Who is that?” This excitement was like the sudden clack of shades being pulled closed.
He seemed confused until his owners were out of the car and walking toward the door. Then he was scratching at the glass, jumping in anticipation.
The clutching in my chest contracted and I suddenly understood that what it released would spill out of my eyes.
I greeted his owners, but turned quickly to pour out his water bowl and dry it. I had left it out to the very end in case he might be thirsty.
People have asked or even predicted with confidence, “When will you get a dog?”
I will not be getting a dog. I am away from my home for far too long to keep a dog in a kennel without daily regret. I also worry because I felt immediate relief as I went about cleaning my home after Wilson’s departure.
It took time to document this farewell.
Was this a tiny glimpse of what a person who had left a baby at a park on a warm June night had experienced?