Just setting foot on the property was a risk.
After all, Roger hadn’t had a dog since Skip died five years earlier, and he had been Maggie’s dog, besides. Poor pooch mourned for Roger’s lost wife the rest of his own life.
How many nights had Roger gone to sleep in a cold and lonely bed only to wake with Maggie’s picture on his pillow and Skip at his feet?
More than he wanted to remember. When the dog died, Roger stashed the photo away in a closet somewhere.
But now Martha was moving back to town, and she wanted to adopt a dog. She also wanted her father to help her pick one out, bring it back to her new home. How could Roger refuse?
So there he was, walking toward the door of the local animal shelter, knowing disaster might strike at any moment … that the memories of Skip, and of Maggie, might be too much, and he’d break down.
Before he had taken five steps from his car, though, Roger caught movement out of the corner of his eye and instinctively braced himself for impact. Half a second later, a muddy brown mutt pounced on his legs and looked him in the eyes.
“Whoa, hello, there!” Roger exclaimed. Martha giggled beside him.
“Max!” a flustered volunteer called, hurrying toward them, empty leash in hand. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know how he got away. He saw you get out of your car and … zoom!’
“No harm done,” Roger said, scratching the dog under its chin. “You’re a good boy, huh, Max? Say … you look familiar somehow. Doesn’t he look familiar, Martha?”
The next morning when Roger woke up, Maggie’s picture watched over him from her pillow, and something warm nuzzled against his feet.