All summer, the dog next door lives outside, tied on a long cable to the porch rail.

She’s only walked when Sally comes home, which isn’t often. He lets her in at night, but she’s too crazy, too big for his house and I know he doesn’t want her without the girl.

He came out yesterday while we walked our dog, stopped to say hello and ask if our lawn mower is working (it is; we’re just hoping the not-so-distant snowfall hides our long grass).

“Sally found Carly a new home,” he adds by way of conversation. The dog has gone to someone with a big yard, where a little girl welcomes the dog into her room at night.

“I realized I don’t have to vacuum every day anymore,” he said.

I think the dog is probably as glad as he is by the change in living conditions.

Every time we stop to see him he comments on the baby’s eyes, says she gets prettier every day. But this time he adds that Sally was about that age when she came to live with him; when he drove down off his mountain to pick her up, when they started every day together with little sausages for breakfast and when she would lay in front of the fire with her head on the collie, fingers twisting in the dog’s long hair.

They lived up there five years and she was such a good baby, never gave him problems, they never fought.

She’s not visiting this weekend. The collie’s long gone.

And I know that he’s wishing he never left his mountain home, that Sally were still there and that she still fell asleep with her head in a collie’s coat.


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