We each await our turn, canine or feline in tow. A room full of pet owners with our familiars—in the sense that they are our everyday companions, our comforts, our concerns.
Fern arrives—a blonde “seeing eye” lab mix in training and bursting with puppy energy. Then a toad-like plump old pug, who perches, shivering, on his person’s lap. A sweet crone with a worried expression totes a carrier containing Robin, one of several cats she cares for.
We toss snippets of our lives to one another. Fern will be relinquished, hard-love style, to become someone’s sight; the paunchy pug is starting to gray and visiting the vet with greater frequency; the cat woman has a 24-year-old Siamese at home who found and claimed her that many years ago and still sleeps curled into the crook of her arm every night.
Driving each comment is the awareness of impermanence, eventuality, loss, but mostly—love. Suddenly, Buddhawg trots around the corner, returning from the recesses of the back rooms where he’s just endured a procedure. His good cheer infects the room. It brings us back. He prances. We smile.