A woman I often see in the park I’ll call Mrs. Ross, had to put Hannah, her beloved Bullmastiff, to sleep.
Hannah, who could have run for office, is who introduced us, way back when.
She’s in obvious mourning nowadays walking alone, loss written all over her stoic, elderly face. She had Hannah for 14 years saying, it was as if she lost one of her daughters.
She also said, the saddest part are the kids at the cancer center Hannah, a Wellness Dog, visited weekly. It’s why I met her, after she found me weeping one day, all alone on a bench.
The kids thought Hannah, who also had cancer, caught it from them, so they needed to be gently convinced it was only a coincidence.
They made a shrine to her with pictures they drew of heaven, with God greeting her when she arrived. One little girl asked if she could call God to tell him, cheese biscuits were Hannah’s favorite.
I know, it breaks your heart, the earnest innocence of a 6 year-old who, alas, may not see her 7th birthday.
This morning I saw Hannah’s mistress by the 72nd Street Boat Pond, seated near the Hans Christian Anderson statue surrounded by a bunch of dogs in all shapes and sizes.
She’s known to carry a horde of cookies in her deep, coverall pockets, earning the name, Mrs. Cookie Jar, a fact all the dogs know.
Their owners kept their distance after she made it known she wasn’t up to being social quite yet, but the four-legged clearly knew, this didn’t apply to them as she fed them all like happy, hungry ducklings.
But here’s the part that left a lump in my throat. When her pockets were finally empty, they didn’t leave. They all sat beside her, as though it were a wake, knowing what she needed more than anything, was the comfort of Hannah’s friends.
We could take a lesson from this furry group, knowing when to show up quietly with grace, to simply remember a fallen comrade.
When I left to go home, my own heart so full, I too remembered Hannah, especially the day I made her big-hearted acquaintance crying on a bench with her noble, compassionate head warm in my lap.
I hope she’s somewhere right now, sitting in the sun, her work here all done, enjoying that eternal cheese biscuit.