Every morning, before breakfast, I walk our dog.
This morning was no different.
The vet has told me not to take her too far, on account of her weak heart. She’s no spring pup anymore. She’s getting slower every day and her eyes are failing her, but, still, she gets extremely excited when you say the magic words and get her lead ready.
We have various routes to choose from (we meaning our dog and I. She’s called Hanbao, which is Mandarin for hamburger – I didn’t name her…), and she usually decides which path we should take.
This morning she decided to take me to the bank. If I was by myself it would take me literally a minute to get there, but with Hanbao it’s a 10-minute walk there and a 10-minute walk back.
I don’t mind. As she’s busy sniffing this and that (what my wife calls “going on doggy Facebook” – Dogbook, if I may) I’m practicing my Mandarin on my phone.
As long as I keep an eye on what Hanbao’s sniffing and where I’m stepping, then everything’s right as rain.
This morning, when we finally made it to the bank, there was a man, drunk, sitting outside it.
He was old and unkempt, but didn’t look homeless.
We walked past him and Hanbao looked at him, and then up at me.
“Is he okay, Gav?” she seemed to be saying.
He began mumbling to himself, then he looked up at me and fell back into a drunken stupor.
What’s wrong, old man? I thought.
Are you trying to drink away your pain?
What have you been through that’s brought you to this point?
We’ve all got a story behind the eyes; it’s so well hidden.
That alone should give us reason not to judge.
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