It is remarkable how the seasons show through Mr. Wilson's emotions. His demeanor, always chipper has been a little less so these last few months. Day upon day of bitter cold takes the skip out of even a soul as blissfully happy as his. Our walks, something he lives for often ended shortly after they began. He's not a fan of his winter jacket, and his little feet have to absorb the cold, unlike my own which are covered with material that keeps me warm.
I think its more than just the physical discomfort though. Ours are not treks through the wilderness, rather we stroll around a suburban block or two, looking for crooks, bushes to pee on and people to chat with. His need to return is an emotional thing; he simply wants to be home, safe and warm.
Spring is here in Rhode island, winter's grasp is relenting, ever so slowly. The three year old Schnoodle is returning to the self that I have come to expect, he's at the door ten times a day, looking at me with those eyes, pleading through unspoken communication to make me understand that it is of life and death importance that he gets me to open the door to his kingdom so he can chase squirrels, terrorize birds and stand behind his fence like the King of the World and bark at anybody or thing that dares walk past. That those same people and critters are his pals as soon as we leave the safety of the yard is irrelevant; he has his ground and he is standing on it, and it's all the better because the ground is no longer freezing.
And the walks have returned in earnest. It's usually me, now who wants to head home rather than tackle another, longer path. Mr. Wilson will walk all day just to find a new scent, his spirit has been re-kindled, and along with his, so has mine. It will be two full years that we have been his guardians, and he ours, but I cannot remember how it felt to not know him.
I think things must have been a lot less alive.