Oh Nelly

It’s common for dog-owners to note that they know other people’s dogs, but don’t remember the people themselves, just as parents often find themselves known as “Benjamin’s parents” rather than as … was it Melanie? It starts with an M, I think. With that cute low-maintenance bobbed haircut. And her husband, the one with the hat. Benjamin’s parents. You know.

Anyway, no, I don’t know the names of the people who walk the white-haired fluffball named Ziggy that I see almost every morning. He’s got a soul patch and a scally cap, and she’s got blonde curls, and they’re in their 40s. Ziggy’s about a year old, and a great dog, and the people are nice too. They recognize me with or without Lucy, but I doubt they remember my name. I don’t remember theirs. It’s nice to see them anyway. The same with Lottie, the French bulldog that stays within five feet of her owner, on-leash or not. I have no idea what her name is, although I’ve been introduced often enough that it would be embarrassing to ask again.

My favorite dog, though, the one that sticks with me, is Nelly. She’s 15 years old, and you can tell that she used to be mostly brown but is now mostly grey. I couldn’t tell you her breed, but she’s a little smaller than a Labrador, with oversized feet that look transplanted from a mastiff. With her is a guy I think of as Dave, who told me once that he still sometimes thinks she’ll grow into those feet. He looks like he could be anywhere from 50 to 70. He walks slowly, because Nelly walks slowly. She’s quite literally on her last legs: When she stops walking, they start to buckle and she sags toward the ground. If she sits, the man who might be named Dave has to lift her back up to her feet before they can turn around and walk back home. I’m always glad to see the two of them.

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