Dog star.

There was a time when devotees lay at my feet. Some licked my toes. I’d walk down the street and people jumped out of cars to give me their phone number.

“Call me!” they’d plead.

They wanted me. No one else. I was the neighborhood’s rock star dog walker.

I love dogs and know how to manage them. Dogs like me and respond to my calm authority. I’m reliable, responsible, and reasonable. I’m cutting edge: I provide doggie mommies and daddies with post-walk updates via text.

Sunny walk w/Princess today. She did #1 & #2! šŸ™‚

I was booked solid. I needed a color-coded calendar to coordinate my schedule. People asked to please be placed on my waiting list, to please be notified of a cancellation.

“Please, Nancy,” they pleaded. “Please!”

I was turning people away. No need to take on the nasty bichon frise who lived on the corner. Let someone else walk the snippy terrier with the bitchy cheap owner. I had my clients, I loved their dogs, and they all loved me.

Winter was hard. It wasn’t easy to convince canines into doggie boots and doggie parkas. It wasn’t fun to reach into snow piles to scoop poop or tiny dogs that sank.

The new year began with less dogs. Some clients moved. Some lost their jobs and began to walk their own dogs. They avoided eye contact as their leashed dogs strained toward me if I was out on the street. Death, divorce, and doggie day care dealt the final blows to my rock star days.

Lately, it’s just been me and my old buddy Duke. Loyal as he is, I worry about him, too: he’s 98 in human years. Our slow walks are longer. He still shakes his rump, wags his tail, and licks my face each time he sees me. I’m always his rock star — and his number one fan. I guess it doesn’t matter how many love you, but how great is the love of the one who does.

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