The beagle and I have not missed a single walk since she was diagnosed. Because walks are medicine. They stimulate her immune system, they help the flow of her lymphatic system and they get oxygen to any anaerobic infections that may be present in her lungs.
Yesterday I smiled and said hello to a couple we encountered. They were on a (dog-less) walk of their own.
The woman responded, “I hope you are as warm as the dog.”
I chuckled and nodded.
Maybe she couldn’t think of anything else to say, I thought. Maybe what she meant to say was, “I like your dog’s coat.” or “Your dog looks nice and warm.”
Maybe she meant to say it with a smile.
But her tone and her look were disapproving.
I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt under a very downy down jacket. The hood was pulled up unto my head, my hands were mittened and my feet booted.
Clearly I was as warm as “the dog.” As my sweet dog.
Did she think my dog was too warm in her coat? Did she think I was cruel to put it on her? Did she hope I was as too warm as the dog?
I wanted to tell her that my friend’s little belly was shaved for a CT scan and the fur hasn’t fully grown back yet. It needs protection from the cold.
I wanted to tell her that senior dogs have difficulty regulating their body temperature. Just like cardigan-clad senior people.
I wanted to tell her that my friend was shivering by the end of the previous day’s cold, damp walk.
I wanted to tell her that my friend has LUNG CANCER.
So quit judging.
But we just kept walking.
We saw them approach a second time as we rounded the final bend.
The beagle stopped to wait for them, tail wagging.
She’s a greeter.
But the couple did not acknowledge her.
Clearly not dog lovers. Clearly her earlier comment was not out of concern for “the dog.”
Clearly she doesn’t deem dogs worthy of warmth.
“Come on little Be. Let’s go home.”
The Be didn’t move.
“Are you worn out little friend? Have you had all you can take today?”
I kinda’ hoped Mrs. Crabby Appleton heard my questions. I kinda’ hoped she realized that there was more to the story.
On today’s walk the Be is going to wear her silver “American Beagle” puffy jacket. Because it’s cold and windy and the jacket is warm and adorable.
Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La-la.