The following day Marie had a deadline. Being a freelance writer, this was her life. As she worked diligently, she heard Roxy barking out back. Marie got up and went have a look.
Here came Roxy, leash in her mouth, heading up the kitchen stairs. Same time as the day before. Marie then called Karen’s cell phone.
Karen was surprised, “She’s at your house? Good grief! She must have gone out the doggy door in the basement. I am at the grocery store and she was sleeping when I left!”
Marie looked down at Roxy, and she knew this was Roxy’s idea – to help her to get some exercise.
This routine went on for almost three years. Every day, rain or shine, Roxy showed up with her leash and barked at Marie’s kitchen door. Marie set her alarm clock at 3:00 pm, every day.
Marie’s doctor was thrilled and she was feeling wonderful. Marie actually toned up with all this running, chasing and doggy babysitting. She loved spending time with Roxy. It gave her something to look forward to each day.
Roxy would never let Marie take off her leash. She seemed to instinctively know Marie needed to be attached to her in order to get better. Many of their doggy dates ended up with a healthy frozen yogurt at the park, which they shared with each other.
Then one early morning Marie’s phone rang. It was Karen, and Marie’s heart skipped a beat. No one calls at 6:00 am with good news. She picked up the phone and simply said, “What’s wrong?”
Karen was crying. “Can you come over?”
Marie ran through the backyard in her robe and slippers. Karen opened the kitchen door for her.
“She’s gone. I can’t believe it. I tried to wake her for breakfast and she was cold. At least she died in her sleep; she didn’t suffer like I thought she might. I didn’t want to tell you, but she had a bad heart. It was a matter of time.”
Marie looked at her beloved Roxy, all curled up in her warm cozy bed, peaceful and quiet – with her leash next to her, ready for their afternoon outing. Marie couldn’t help but think that maybe they managed to keep each other alive a little longer than was meant to be.
Marie still runs nowadays, but with her own Lab, Sally. It’s now Sally’s job to put Marie through her paces at the doggy park. Each day as they walk out the front door, Sally barks once, and wags her tail, looking at the large white urn on the bookshelf. This is where Roxy’s ashes are, in loving memory.