Many of us have lived with or still enjoy old dogs. I remember my childhood dog, India, with this poem. If you had not heard, there are more dogs than children in San Francisco. I see a bunch of them out my window at the park all day. Sometimes they come at late dusk or evening. Their masters with flashlights, dogs with glowing and blinking collars. This is the closest I get to fireflies in San Francisco and I enjoy their erratic trajectories.
An ancient pug/bulldog mix
with splayed hips
tries to drag legs through the grass,
out to do his business.
His master, my neighbor,
is a young man with young children
living in the debt-free house
of his dead grandmother.
I suspect the dog was hers.
Now he honors her
with patient kindness to her dog
I try to tell if I can see pain
on dog’s serious, wrinkled face.
I suffered such discomfort
before my hip replacements.
Does Louie feel the same?
He turns his flat face to peer
at his master with a trace of bewilderment.
Perhaps he remembers
running with a terrier or dachshund
in the dog park, only a few yards away.
The sun is out, the day gentle.
After helping him down the curb
his master lets Louie set the pace
in his slow, swaying walk.
The gray-whiskered dog hobbles
to the edge to sniff curiously at a weed
and blink up at the horizon.
Still not ready to turn back to the house.