“Aussie, where are you rushing off to?”

“I’m rushing off to meet my destiny. It’s waiting for me out there, I can feel it, only I don’t know where it is and how to find it.”

“You can follow your destiny by walking alongside Henry and me.”

“No, I can’t. You’re too old.”

“Too old to meet up with my destiny, Auss?”

“At your age, if you haven’t found your destiny by now, you never will. Just look at you, you can’t even find our regular path in the woods. We’ve been walking this path since I first blessed you with my presence, and still you’re lost.”

“It’s not me that’s lost, Aussie, it’s the path. This winter has brought down so many trees and thick branches that I can’t find the path anymore. In previous years, come spring, I would re-recognize it after going around big rocks, hopping over tree trunks, or finding new routes around the brambles, only it’s harder this year.”

“Let’s find a whole new forest.”

“I have history here, Auss, more than 20 years of history in this forest. I don’t want to leave it all behind.”

“If you don’t leave things behind, how are you going to find your destiny?”

“Maybe you’re right, Aussie. Till now I’d modify the trail every spring, but maybe it’s time to go someplace completely new.”

“Preferably a trail with no bears.”

“Boris hasn’t visited us for a week, Aussie. No birdfeeders of any kind outside. I don’t think he’s coming back.”

“What happens if we run into him here, far away from the house? What do you do when you come face-to-face with a big bear in the woods?”

“You never run, Aussie. You never turn your back on it and run, because then you resemble prey and it’ll chase you. You back off slowly, and at the same time you bounce your arms up and down to remind it: I’m a person! I’m not your regular food, I’m a person!

“So what do I do? Wave my tail, hop around on my hind legs, bounce my front paws up and down, and yell: I’m a dog! I’m a dog!?”

“In your case, I think you better just run for it. You’re way faster than I am right now.”

“That’s because you’re old!”

“You said that already, Aussie.”

“I don’t want to spend my remaining years taking care of you.”

“Is taking care of someone so bad, Auss?”

“What about my dreams?”

“What dreams?”

“The ones I’ve had since I was a pup down South.”

“What were your dreams, Aussie? Peace in the world? Respect and dignity for all creations?”

“I wanted to be rich and famous.”

“What good are dreams like that, Aussie?”

“Are you kidding me? Filet mignon every night. I could run for President, only I’m too young. I have to find my destiny before I become old like you. I have to fulfill my dreams. Run, run, run!”

“Aussie, you know what the Korean writer Chiang-Sheng Kuo wrote? ”

“I don’t trust a word he says.”

“Why, Aussie?”

“Because Koreans used to eat dogs. Would you trust a cannibal?”

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