When I volunteer Fridays at 6:00 pm, final walks and final cleaning are the main agenda and we work fast. Walk any “Green” dog, the staffer says. (green = easy)
I leash up a newcomer, a pudgy, four-year-old Beagle, yet unnamed. A. says she calls her “Lady.”
“Lady” isn’t too interested in the challenge of the staircase.
—But that’s the only way out, sweetheart.
If she were any larger, I wouldn’t attempt to pick her up. But I do, and I carry her up the stairs.
—Lady, you just made the weight limit.
Lady and I walk down Centre Street, then cross Howard Street. Lady picks up steam in the crosswalk and I am grateful. Every SoHo street is busy. After starting up Lafayette Street, Lady tires in the home stretch. Standing still suits her just fine. With encouragement, we make it back home.
I put the Beagle in her corral and she launches a heart-breaking wimper.
A. tells me to walk Natasha next, so I head down the back aisle to find her. Natasha is in the corner corral, the one with the door too high to see over. Natasha’s info doesn’t indicate a color, but if A. told me to walk her, she must be a green dog. A. said Natasha, right? Right.
What if there is a big feisty brute behind that tall door?
I open the corral door and a small happy black puppy, maybe four or five months old, tells me she is very happy to see me. Her leashed up, with treats in my pocket, Natasha and I hit the SoHo streets. I give her a treat just for being adorable. Natasha never forgets for a second that I have treats in my pocket.
—It will take a lot of treats to grow into my big paws, she says.
I return for Lily, a small rambunctious Shepard Mix. She has one bloodshot eye, probably not from Lasik surgery. Her head is all brown-and-black and her body is solid white, like the head was pasted on the wrong body.
Lily is a handful. Forget the stairs, she wants to grab the leash, taste my sneakers and chew my pant leg. Lily and I struggle to make it down Centre Street. That is, I struggle. Lily could care less. But once we turn the corner onto Grand Street, we figuratively turn the corner as well. Lily’s walking improves.
—Dear God, she just stuck her head through the fencing around that tree.
Lily slips her head back out easily. Relief.
—Lily, you are not going near those fenced trees again.
I get help harnessing big, red Clifford. With a harness and two leashes, I feel like Clifford is a pony and I am the sleigh. This is my second walk with Clifford and I am much more comfortable with him today.
I check the AH website over the weekend. Nick is adopted. Natasha is adopted. Myrtle is adopted. Clifford, too.
Lily and Lucy—I’ll see you next week.