“Yippee! A new day! Let’s run, Aussie!”

“I’m way ahead of you, Harry.”

“The sun is out, I could smell the deer from last night, and you know what we get on Sunday? Marrow bones! Isn’t life great? Wait a minute, where’s the Boss?”

“She’s walking slowly behind us, deep in thought.”

“Don’t tell me she’s back you-know-where.”

“I’m afraid so, Harry. She’s back in the Land of SOD.”

“Where’s that, Auss?”

“The Land of Sickness, Oldage, and Death is nowhere and everywhere, Harry.”

“Uggh, who wants to go there? Think she’ll throw the ball for us, Auss?”

“Wouldn’t count on it, Harry.”

“Think she’ll go wading in the creek with us?”

“I don’t think so, Harry.”

“What’s wrong with her, Auss?”

“She spent several years caregiving and now she’s grieving.”

“Yes, but for how long, Aussie? She’s been doing that since the day I arrived.”

“She’s not always like this. Sometimes she’s actually happy.  Just not now.”

“Doesn’t she know that time is passing, Auss?”

“She knows it, Harry.”

“She’s not getting any younger. If she doesn’t start living now, what’s going to happen later? The hummingbirds are starting to go.”

“She knows that, too, Harry, she’s the one who puts out their sugar water.”

“Doesn’t she feel the cool nights, Aussie?”

“She’s put out a warmer blanket on the bed, Harry.”

“What’s she waiting for, snow?”

“You can’t rush these things, Harry.”

“I can’t wait, Auss. You know who the Boss reminds me of?”

“Who, Harry?”


“Bruce the big dog we play with by the pond?”

“That Bruce. You know how he flounces around in a funny way? I heard the Boss talking with Bruce’s human pal, and the pal told her that Bruce was put in a crate too small for him when he was young so that he could hardly turn around or anything, so he lost a lot of his peripheral vision or he doesn’t know how to use it.  That’s why he’s clumsy and doesn’t respond to things coming from the side, like me when I jump him, yuck yuck.”

“What’s that got to do with the Boss, Harry?”

“The Boss is like Bruce, Aussie. She doesn’t have a big enough view.”

“Because she grew up in a crate that was too small?”

“Aussie, doesn’t the Land of SOD feel small to you?”

“To me it does, Harry, but humans are undecided about that. Some say it’s good to get out of there quick as you can—“

“That’s what I say—“

“And some say the Land of SOD is a big country masquerading as a small crate.”

“Well, I think the Boss has lost her peripheral vision, Auss. She’s missing out. Soon the flowers will go, then the other birds, then the creek will get cold and I won’t want to splash in it anymore with her.”

“She does take us out every day, Harry. She loves the woods, loves the flowers, sits outside in the early morning when you’re still dozing off in bed. She just hasn’t turned yet, know what I mean?”

“No. Does she throw us balls?”

“Not too often.”

“Does she run around with us or drop to the ground and wrestle?”

“Not lately, Harry.”

“I rest my case. She’s just like Bruce. Somebody better get her out of that crate fast.”