I tell him we are going on a long car ride and he happily jumps in. He settles down and promptly falls asleep. We spend the next several hours driving here and there, getting out for pee breaks and getting water. We stop in the town of Whitehall now sort of famous for Bigfoot sightings, birthplace of the Navy and the spectacularly gothic Skene Manor. It is completely lacking in charm, utterly devoid of it. He stands happily in front of the carved Bigfoot. I call him Sansquatch great furry beast. I think he laughs.
In a small town near Lake George, he sits in a shady spot, I check him every 20 minutes, checking his nose, his ear temperature and the water, buying him an ice cream to help cool off his body, and give him a treat for sitting so quietly in the car.
The next day we rise and the day is breezy and cool, but the sun is shining. We hike up the dirt road and up onto a high grassy hill overlooking a barn we sit in the sun while I paint a watercolor of the barn. He wants to follow the other two dogs, but when he gets all the way down the hill he looks back, not sure why I have stayed behind, then he comes tearing up the hill. He is hot with his black fur and we share my water bottle, I don’t even care when his tongue goes from the cupped palm of my hand to the bottle mouth.
He is off leash the whole day lagging behind and tearing past us, and then leading us all the way home. We sit at the high table drinking our white wine and we see the cloudiness in his eyes. Sometimes when I call him I have to clap because he struggles now to hear my voice. He follows me around my friend’s house, sitting outside the bathroom, and sitting only a few feet from me, sleeping on the floor by the bed. And when it is time to go, I say let’s go see the kitties and Morgan, and he jumps up into the car, he lays down and promptly falls asleep.
Old dog. Dear friend. Constant Companion.