Yesterday afternoon when we were outside doing some yardwork on a magnificent October day a car pulled up to the end of the drive. Max gave a desultory bark and a nice lady strolled across the lawn.
It was Diane.
Diane, who is 70-ish, has a lovely golden lab bitch named Daisy. Max and Daisy quite fancy each other despite the fact they no longer boast the equipment to explore options further in terms of affection.
Anyway, we met Diane on dog walks and have chatted with her ever since. One day this past February I happened along the walkway near where Diane lives and, since I hadn’t seen her for a time I walked up to exchange pleasantries. I asked how she was.
“I’m grieving,” she said simply. Knowing her husband (considerably her senior) had heart woes; I thought something had happened to him. That would have been sad, but not surprising. But, that wasn’t the case.
Her daughter, a mere 48, had just died unexpectedly of “an infection” following a vacation in Jamaica. Her daughter did indeed have compromised health as she’d suffered from MS for years, but the death of this otherwise vibrant young-ish woman came completely out-of-the-blue. Needless to say Diane and her husband were devastated.
I gave ‘listen’ to Diane for probably about an hour as our dogs waited patiently by. By the end of the hour I kind of felt I’d gotten to know the daughter and felt very sad about her passing and her mom’s grief.
Cut to the present. Diane was bringing a card and message of thanks plus some lovely pictorial material on her daughter (whom I think I’d love to have known, but will never get the chance). I was genuinely touched. I didn’t think I’d done so much, but I guess I provided an ear that was sorely needed at the time.
It also gave me pause for the thought that if we didn’t have Max we never would have met Diane. None of that exchange would have happened. It would have been akin to how life would have unfolded if George Bailey hadn’t been born in It’s A Wonderful Life. The world just would have been a little different minus Max.
We talked about it later.
We spoke of the people we wouldn’t know if it hadn’t been for those canines we tend to. We’ve lived on our street since 1998, but before Max we knew virtually nobody other than our immediate neighbors. Now we know the dogs and their people all through the neighborhood and some of them have become great personal friends.
Dogs as social lubricants. Who knew?
Yesterday we took a walk in a favorite dogwalk area here in Comox known as the ‘Northeast Woods’. We ran into another dog walk couple. We fell into conversation – though the dogs didn’t have much to say to each other and both got bored in short order, whilst their owners carried on in a manner that seemed to indicate there had been a mutual acquaintanceship of years’ duration.
Max has now been with us for 3 years and he’s served well in so many respects, especially in increasing our circle of friends. And also for introducing us to Diane and, by weird default, to her late daughter.