the subtle click of the hall closet shutting would wake him from the soundest of sleeps (the deep slumber of dogs), this connoisseur of walks. he could hear the rattle of the leash over the sound of a hans zimmer score, even before you said, “walkies”, he’d be awake and at your side, ready to head to to to to to there or over there, but here first, then there, let’s just go he’d tug tight on the leash as if there were not enough time to do everything that could be done on this one walk around the block.
we’d stop and i’d bend down to pat his head and feel his silky ears–ears that expressed all of his moods; eager, happy, joey.
“where’s joey?” one of us would say and we’d search the house, calling his name and find his legs sticking out from underneath the bed, dead to the world (figuratively at the time.)
he was patient with us, in the way dogs are with their humans, accepting our tics and odd habits (why don’t they smell more things?), as long as a walk was involved, even in the rain, the heat, the winds, it was always forward, never looking back. (except now, when looking back is all we’ve got.)
he failed obedience school, although he did learn to heel and to sit when requested, even if it made no sense to him at the time. he howled at other dogs we’d meet, scaring some, inciting others, making friends with a few and enemies of several–their scent a memory he never forgot even after he was blind and couldn’t see them pass across the street. if we were downwind and he caught their scent, he’d growl under his breath “i’ll get you yet, you rascal,” and tug tighter on the lead.
billy loved him. billy taught him the importance of being petted and held tight and how the love of your humans makes the world a better place. they were an odd pair, but brothers at heart, a harsh word never passed between them; they shared their beds, their treats, their meals, they even rode quietly in the back seat of the car together, and they’d sit patiently next to each other whenever we’d stop to speak with a neighbor, noses and ears alert to any danger.
joey laid down today, january 22, 2014, and did not get up. we held him as he left us for a walk with other dogs we’ve known and hopefully some humans, too. he was fourteen years old and we loved him very much.