Bryn and I take ambling walks up and down our tree-lined street every day. She’ll often pause to look questioningly at me at a certain residential corner that marks where we turn back toward home.
Can we go into town instead, Boss?
“No,” I almost always say; ”not today.” And so, philosophical, she and I’ll carry on down the other side of our street.
But today, during a break in the drizzle, when she asked again, I decided we would go that way, guessing what the attraction had to be. (I was surprised that she remembered it, after a winter away...)
Oh, the transformation! She lit up, and high-pranced the entire three blocks to Front Street.
Rounding the commercial corner, ignoring an attractive cabinet store and then a kitchen store, she trotted straight to the Dog Bakery, a snug little shop where she’d make her way up and down the three aisles to sniff the various big bags of kibbles before arriving at the rounded shelf packed with freshly baked dog cookies displayed in attractive baskets, where she’d deeply breathe in the scents of their varied flavors, while never actually touching them...
(That’s The Law.
Sniff, but Never Touch.)
Some cookies would still be faintly warm...
The staff would offer her a little treat...
Inches from the shop’s door handle she stood, waiting eagerly for me to open it.
It remained firmly shut.
A big sign on the papered over store window announced that The Dog Bakery had moved to S. Airport Rd, a long drive from here.
Bryn could NOT understand why the door wouldn’t open. She tried to peer in, but the door’s glass was papered over, as well.
“Done, Bryn. Bye-bye,” I said, sadly. These words signify that a job -like my daily Bryn-brushing- is finished, or that Joe has gone off in the car- or that something has gone.
Incredulous, willing it to open, she nudged the knob again and looked at me anxiously, so I pulled the handle again to demonstrate that it was locked.
Bryn sat, unmoving, staring hard at it, trying to grasp ‘Done.’
To make things worse, I had no car until Friday, two days away. So we couldn’t return home and drive to the new location.
Her sensitive nose scooped in lingering odors from its defunct kitchen.
I waited, letting her come to terms with her disappointment.
It took a long time.
A man walking by saw us looking blankly at the facade, and said, unnecessarily, “They’ve gone, a couple of weeks ago.”
“Yeah, I know;” I sighed. “Bryn is trying to accept it. But thanks...”
I saw one ear move; she’d understood the man behind her.
(Two confirmations = truly Gone.)
Her eyes closed. Her head hung low.
At last she sighed, turned away, and crept slowly down the street by my side, the picture of acute disappointment. I felt awful.
Eventually I broke the silence.
“Bryn, I might have one last Bakery cookie at home.” She looked up at me and wagged her tail once.
As soon as we hit the house she went to the kitchen drawer set aside for her, and sat. I searched the drawer nervously: where was it?? There- rattling around in its little bag, in the far corner.
Accepting the stale treat politely she trotted off to crunch it down.
But we both knew it wasn’t the same...
The next day dawned bright. Joe brought back the car. We piled in and drove to the new location. Bryn hopped out to stand, uncertain, on the tarmac. Where was this?
Right then a patron came out of the ‘Pets Naturally’ dog store (which had absorbed the Dog Bakery) and with him, a familiar odor-
Eagerly breathing it in she moved to the front door, which Joe opened. She traveled happily from aisle to aisle, carefully inspecting dog toys and miscellaneous items, as well as various big bags of kibbles, before finally arriving at the baked goods section. Ha! Her favorite cookies, containing whitefish and sweet potatoes with a touch of honey, were parked on a shelf. She grinned and looked at us expectantly. We bought the little bag, and offered her one cookie in the parking lot.
She ate it carefully, licked errant crumbs from the pavement, and then sighed, content.
The world made sense again!