Thought Wheel

Ann Chiappetta

Verona goes to the Lake

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Verona goes to the Lake

She knew where we were as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. Are we at the free place? She seemed to say, I love this place. I get to swim, hang out off-leash and poop in the woods. Cool.

We unloaded the truck, weaved through the other guests on the strip of patio on the way to our room and settled in for a fun relaxing afternoon.

Verona and my daughter, April, played in the lake for an hour, Verona chasing sticks and paddling around. The funniest thing was the way she would blow water from her mouth after dropping the stick. April said it made her lips puff out and it made a loud, spitting sound that I could hear from the patio.

When the geese and ducks realized she was visiting, they hot footed it off the grass and stayed in the lake or in the weeds near the dock. It was a thrill to see her body stiffen, her head and tail go up when she saw them. It made me feel proud to share this time together, giving her back to her instincts for just a little while. She’s going to be five years old, I thought, the time goes by so fast. Each and every year we have together is a blessing, a time for me to feel unfettered. As we stand and watch the birds quack and waddle down the hill toward the edge of the lake, I try to think back on the way life was before training with Verona but my mind veers from those dark moments and I let them go. We are here, listening and watching, being warmed by the late afternoon sun, taking in the fresh water aromas. We are dog and woman, partners for however long time and fate permit. I place a hand on her glossy head and stroke it; she gives me a quick poke with her nose before returning to duck watching as the sun dips below the hills.

Greenwood Lake — August 2011

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