Thinking About a Chow Named Jack

My name is Taylor.

My papa and I love to hike.
Almost every day, we make our way to the Marin Headlands. For the most part, we always do the same hike, but it never gets boring. We live on the north end of the Headlands, and we love it cos it’s so beautiful and we meet tons of people and there are lots of other dogs not as as good looking as me that we meet.

It’s been a few days since the lunar eclipse and the super moon. We wanted an evening hike to see the vibrant colours we only get a hint of from our balcony, most of them behind us that we can see on the hike.

Tonight we saw Rolf and I got to walk with Sushi and Maya. Rolf is an ex-football coach in Germany and in the Bay Area. I’m sure he’s done and is doing many other things. He looks like a soccer coach. Maybe fifteen to twenty years older than my papa, he could probably run most people to the ground. I want to be buddies with his dogs, but they are both Chows, beautiful red ones (like Jack was). Rolf has had three other Chows before his current dynamic duo. One was black. Another was white. (I’d never heard of a white one.) And another red one. Two of them was named Sushi as well. I don’t remember the other one’s name. Maya was Wasabi but the name didn’t stick, so Maya she became. They all have purple tongues, which is weird cos I have a pink one.

We parted company cos my papa really wanted to take in the sunset. It was especially beautiful tonight. I love sunsets and I love sunrises too. But the real reason I go on these hikes with my papa is so I can run. Give me a field. Give me open air. And I’ll run dog wild. I love it. Something freeing about all the smells you encounter on a hike, and with the air through my hair as I trot, they become even more alive in my nose. I love sleeping at home, and eating and drinking too. But give me a field.

My papa started telling me about Jack. I just went about my business, smelling everything to make sure everything was where it should be. Jack moved to Chicago when he was 11 years old. He was an old dog then. Moving to Chicago gave him a new lease on life; he became young again. He and my papa went everywhere together. They rode in his Jeep with the top down every chance they got. He went to the Lava Lounge where he would help my papa drink beer. He even went to Cleo’s once to celebrate his birthday, three shots – one for our papa, one for Stephen the bartender and one for Jack. In so many ways, Jack gave our papa a new lease on life too…

My papa’s voice was trailing off. I never met Jack and I’m sure he was a good dog, but he couldn’t have been better than me.

I know my papa doesn’t like to think about it, but someday I’ll meet Jack in doggy heaven where we’ll chase after balls and frisbees for eternity.

Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.

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