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Storm: A kind heart and a few biscuits form fast friendships

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By Janet Storm

Sunday, September 23, 2018

One of the great joys of walking dogs is the opportunity to make new friends as you are out and about.

Dog lovers have an instant connection, and I have met many wonderful people while strolling around the townhouses and condos in our neighborhood with Ollie and Einstein.

The Storm boys are friendly fellows who are eager to say hello to the people and other canines they meet. Still, dogs — like humans — have their favorites.

And no person they have ever met holds quite the same place in their hearts as Miss Sue.

The boys and I met Miss Sue on an autumn morning while we were keeping an eye on a pair of squirrels that Einstein was convinced were up to no good.

She approached, cane in hand and a fanny pack on her hip, and asked if she could say hello to the boys. 

“Of course,” I said.

The next few minutes were filled with ears rubs and the sort of human-to-dog chatter that marks a true canine connoisseur. Ollie and Einstein took an instant shine to their new acquaintance and the friendship really blossomed when Sue asked, “Is it OK if they have a treat?”

The fanny pack, we discovered, contained dog biscuits and Miss Sue always carried it with her when she walked. Hounds all over the neighborhood wagged their tails in anticipation when she approached. The Storm boys were no exception.

That morning, and many mornings afterward, the boys would strain at their leashes whenever they saw her. In fact, any woman who they saw during our walks was watched eagerly until she came close enough for them to discern whether it was their friend.

The disappointment on Ollie and Einstein’s faces when some other woman walked by was almost comical.

During one walk, we happened upon Miss Sue on her front porch and it marked a new stage in out friendship. She went inside to fetch some treats, and from that point on the boys were constantly trying to nudge our walks in her home’s direction.

Sue and I would chat as she rubbed Ollie’s ears or ruffled the hair on Einstein’s head. She told me about other dogs she had met on her walks. She introduced us to Sebastian, a neighborhood cat she loved, who came and visited her every day.

She was such a bright spirit, so kind and giving. It was very easy to understand why Ollie and Einstein loved her so.

Earlier this year, we found out that Miss Sue had cancer. She spent weeks in the hospital, and it was weeks more before she was well enough to be able to greet the boys. They missed her terribly and kept dragging me to her porch, whining in frustration when I told them that she was not there.

Finally, our visits resumed. Miss Sue seemed more fragile than before, but still was strong enough to lavish love on Ollie and Einstein, slipping them extra treats to make up for her absence.

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” she assured them. “It’s not your fault we couldn’t visit.”

The last few times we tried to drop by, there was no answer at Miss Sue’s door. Then, just this week, we learned from one of her friends that Miss Sue has lost her fight with cancer.

It was an awful blow, made all the worse because the boys don’t understand she is gone.

Looking back, it amazes me how much happiness Sue was able to spread with a few kind words and a fanny pack full of dog biscuits. 

I expect it will be a long time before Ollie and Einstein stop pulling me toward her door; a long time before they stop wagging their tails when they see a woman approaching them from down the street.

That’s as it should be, I suppose. Dogs know a true friend when they meet one.

The Storm boys will always have a special place in their hearts for Miss Sue.

Contact Janet Storm at jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.

 

 

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