Back on January 1, when I made my crass public-television-style appeal for funds, readers said they wanted to hear more about Bridget so here goes, a bittersweet tale of first love lost. (Yes, you can still donate via the Paypal button in the lefthand column. It’s easy as pie if you have a credit card and even small donations add up.)
When we first got Bridget in the fall of 2006, the family of one of my daughter’s school friends and our neighbours also got a dog. He was big black retriever-type mutt by the name of Lou. And he and Bridget became fast friends as the two girls would take the puppies out for walks.
Despite the size difference, they made good playmates. As the months passed and Lou grew bigger, their preferred style of play became Lou lying down and Bridget grrring around his head and neck. Sometimes at the park, in the presence of other bigger playmates, Lou would ignore Bridget, but last summer, when they both found themselves staying with that fabulous Montreal pet sitter Jay, he reported that he went to bed one night while Bridget and Lou were playing only to wake up the next morning to find Bridget and Lou playing.
Alas, we moved from Montreal to Toronto shortly thereafter, and Bridget hasn’t been back to her old stomping grounds to see Lou since. One day, a few weeks ago, however, an ownerless dog who looked a lot like Lou came bounding into the dog park. He was one of those charismatic canines you meet occasionally and, in minutes, he was leading a pack round and round the periphery, plowing through the snow. Bridget was right in there, following, yipping, and staying on his heels even after many of the other bigger dogs had given up. It was quite unusual behaviour for her and I realized that it was because she thought the dog was Lou.
A week later, on a very cold night, Bridget started barking up a storm in the backyard and someone rang our doorbell. “Is this dog out here yours?” the woman at the door asked. “He seems to be lost.” Right away, I asked if it was the mysterious Lou look-alike and it turned out it was.
I told the woman about how he had showed up at the park and someone had taken him home and done everything you do when a lost dog with no collar and tags shows up, and that it was very strange that he would be out alone again. She said she would take care of it and I gave her my phone number if she needed any further info.
I never heard anything more until the dog showed up again, a few weeks later, at the park with no collar and no owner, and ran everywhere with Bridget following along behind mesmerized.
I’m still surprised me that she seemed to think it was Lou as I thought dogs depended far more on non-visual senses and that it would have been apparent to her that it wasn’t the boy dog she left behind. And it also makes me sad to think of this great canine love lost. Take heart, Bee, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Or so they say.