More heavy rain today, coinciding with one of our outings.
This morning I saw the lady with the limp leave in her car. I think she lives in the housing association flats, and understand from some of our brief conversations that she is only allowed her dog - a 15 year-old Westie - as some kind of special dispensation. But during the summer, she has occasionally appeared with a new dog - a rickety little skinnymalink of a dog, about half the size of your average cat. She - the dog, not the lady with the limp - wears a diamante halter, sometimes blue, and sometimes pink, and she only appears under cover of darkness.
Last night, during our Last Lampost of the Night outing, the lady told me that she had to be up early this morning - she was due at the vet for 8.30am as she'd arranged for her new dog to be neutered. We agreed that it was all for the best.
But while she was there, she was also going to ask the vet about her Westie. 'His back end's going', she explained, 'and I'm worried about his quality of life.' She was quite matter of fact.
As somebody who is already busy trying to work out what on earth I'm going to do when my boy shuffles off his mortal coil (he's not yet 2) I was taken aback by her stoicism. I heard myself say, 'Well, maybe the vet will have some ideas...' but it's clear that the lady was way beyond good ideas of the desperate kind.
We parted, heading for our respective beds.
This morning, as her car passed me, I couldn't bring myself to meet her eyes and wave, or to look for what I imagine will be the final time at her Westie. I just walked on, hood up against the drizzle, poo bag at the ready.
I'm hoping to be a better friend when I see her next.