The painter finished with our living room an hour ago and the ceiling looks just like it did a couple of months ago. Having a fully mature Ponderosa pine fall on one’s house is not a recommended event. Interesting at times, and if it happens to you, you will discover that your neighbors are okay people. Probably not the ones you would seek out at your coffee shop but basically okay for short conversations.

A totally unexpected thing happened. After I got back from my morning chat with my old cronies I asked the house painter if I could walk his dog. “Beauty,” a one-year-old sort of German shepherd mix, had been tied up all morning and seemed to be comfortable with that but all the same she would probably like a walk, so I volunteered. Debbie and I took our usual walk around the neighborhood with Beauty on a leash, as required by local law, and we all had a fantastically good time. We had such a good time that about two hours later I asked if we could take another walk. We were all a little calmer this time but we had even more fun.

I haven’t had a dog since Tiger died, essentially of old age, in 1984. I still feel an absolute loyalty to the memory of the best friend I ever had and probably will ever have. Other than Debbie of course, but there was something of a companionship that no human can ever provide that a dog can and often does.

Debbie and I walk over to the local dog park a couple of times per week and know quite a few people and dogs there. Often we play with them, but it is always with the owner’s permission, and thus even though I have a good time as do the dogs, there is always the owner overseeing the whole event and other dogs distracting the flow. Those problems didn’t exist today and the fun of being alone with a dog was like the fifteen years I spent with Tiger.

Perhaps it’s time to get … another dog.