This summer my garden mostly had to fend for itself while I was driving cross-country from west to east and then back again, logging over 9,000 miles. It was a great trip. When I got home, after being gone for over a month, the garden was looking pretty good. My daughter watched it for a couple of weeks and then my husband took over. Nevertheless, I don’t think they were over worked, and like I said it did okay. More on that another time.
The big (and sad) news is that Milo, my garden buddy for many years, is no longer with us. A couple of weeks ago, at the ripe age of 16 years, 8 months, he was unable to stand when he woke up. He is missed. He has been gone for a couple of weeks and I am now ready to write about him.
Milo and the chairs
When Milo was a pup I decided to take him for a walk into town to chill out at a coffee shop. I’d seen other dogs patiently sitting with their people, enjoying the pleasant downtown scene, and I thought, why not Milo?
I got through a fairly quick cup of coffee when it seemed Milo was out of patience. The server, however, was nowhere to be found. I looked around for a place to tie Milo’s leash so I could go in and pay the bill but couldn’t find anything appropriate. The outdoor seating for the coffee shop was on a fairly busy corner in town. Finally I decided to tie Milo to three plastic chairs that were stacked up near the building. I knew if nothing disturbed him, he would be fine for a few minutes.
I darted inside glancing out the door to make sure Milo was okay, when a woman entering the store inquired whether that was my dog out there. I threw down a five-dollar bill and ran outside only to see Milo running at break-neck speed down the street with the three chairs bouncing close behind. An elderly man tried to stop him and nearly got taken down for his trouble. A woman pushing a stroller averted disaster by mere inches. Milo kept running with me charging after him – and I think, though I don’t really remember – yelling out his name. Next thing I know he is headed for the street, between parked cars, no less. The volume of my frantic screams increased, as did my speed. I lunged and reached his leash just as he entered the lane of traffic.
We got back on the sidewalk. I was shaking. Milo was shaking. Luckily we were both young or one of us would have had a heart attack. I detached the cracked chairs and just held Milo. As we slowly walked back to the coffee shop I heard someone call my name. It was a neighbor. All I could think was, did she see that spectacular scene? I made small talk but couldn’t ask. Then I replaced the chairs and sheepishly took Milo home, feeling guilty that I didn’t leave money for the damage. I just couldn’t manage it.
Though gentle and sweet, Milo was always a nervous dog. We never tried the coffee shop again, but for years and years he sat patiently in our yard watching me garden. He rarely needed a leash since he rarely wandered off. When he did, he always obeyed my command to come back. To this day I wonder what freaked him out at the coffee shop to make him take off like he did. I miss you buddy.