My habitual mid-day walk with Ned the red poodle always takes us to Starbucks. There, he stays outside, visible through the plate-glass window, while I venture in for my regular caffeine hit. I almost always order the Leslie Special – a venti, low-fat latte with one honey. So good for those early afternoon blahs.
Chatting with the baristas is often the only social contact I, a work-at-home freelance writer, get during the day. So I find it sad when they invariably leave for greener pastures or parts unknown. I am haunted by the ghosts of baristas past, even as I enfold the new ones into my routine.
It’s the same feeling I have when walking down familiar streets, past houses of dogs who have passed. There’s where Max used to live, and Freeway, and Annie. Neddy surely feels it too: At times, he stops in front of these houses for an extra-long sniff and widdle, as if hopeful that his pee-mail will be received and answered by his old friend.
I don’t know if he sees the ghosts too – dogs don’t have great eyesight. But I am comforted by their presence. We humans share the best parts of our lives with our canine companions, and their pals become ours as well. When our friends leave us, always too soon, a little, intangible piece of them remains behind. It there to remind us that nothing is lost forever.