Few people enjoy letting go of a pet. My neighbor was no different. He had deep feelings for Diesel despite what could be construed by many as evidence to the contrary. I mislead him at the outset but our goal was the same, a new future for a dog who was about to go from poverty to homelessness. At one point around two years ago, he gave Diesel to a guy he worked with and then about six weeks later retrieved him when he realized he was keeping him in a pen with an angry male dog. I believe his intentions were good but overuse of alcohol limits everything; financial, physical, and emotional resources.
It was Thursday morning when I agreed to pick Diesel up. I got up at five-thirty made some coffee and took Stella for a walk. I assumed she would spend much of the day confused about why I was suddenly having awesome fun playtime with that big sweaty dog across the street. Over the years, she and Diesel had come to an agreement. He was welcome to come sniffing around her as long as he didn't charge us like a bull at which point she was going to go all Lara Croft on the side of his head and end their relationship once and for all. He understood.
There were photos to deliver that morning to a client who had just celebrated her own dog's first birthday with real birthday party. That afternoon included a beautiful little luncheon and all manner of doggie paraphernalia; nine dogs and twelve or fourteen humans. There was a lot of "Oh, that's the cutest thing I've ever seen!" and "Isn't that the cutest thing you've ever seen?" conversation. It was without question the polar opposite of what this week had become. Driving across town with Stella to deliver the photos I told her things in her world were about to change only this time, it wasn't going to include a bunch of nut-ball kittens.
When we got home I put her in the house and carried her leash back out the door with me. I walked across the street to Diesel's yard and as always he barked his regular greeting alerting my neighbor who emerged from the basement door. When I asked if I could have the chain he seemed surprised but gathered it up, put it in a box and carried it over to my car. He bent down then with a heavy heart and hugged his dog, told him that he loved him and assured him that he was going to a better place to live, all of which was true.
Diesel seemed anxious but cheerful about the whole transfer. He bailed into my car all seventy-one pounds of him, like a fifteen year old boy. I asked my neighbor for the first time if he did okay in the car (brilliant on my part). I knew he'd been in a car but not often or recently.
"Great," he said, "he loves to ride in the car."
"Oh good," I said "I'll let you know how he's doing."
"Thanks Sue, see you later," he said, "Bye Diesel."
I gave him a minute to make it home and started the car.