The old man and his dachsunds. (From a book of short stories to be published)

The old man walks very slowly on the sidewalk in front of my house with his two Dachshunds. The larger dog is black, the other one in brown. The old man has an abundant head of well-combed grey hair. He’s always smiling, and his teeth aren’t perfect, but they are his own teeth. The clothes he wears are not expensive, but they are always clean and pressed. Today he is wearing blue pants and a white, short sleeved shirt. The old man and his dogs look well taken care of.

I run into the old man and we greet each other. I ask him, looking at the dogs, "How are our buddies doing today?" He tells me the larger black dog is 17 years old, but he has the spirit of a young pup. He always says the same thing. But this morning, he tells me about the other Dachshund: "Toby can sing, did you know that? He’s a happy dog. Have you heard him sing?" Then he leans down, lifts the brown Dachshund, and puts his face right next to the dog’s snout and starts howling. "Auuuh, Auuuh, Auuuh!" The dog then joins him in song. "Auuuh, Auuuh, Auuh!" The old man and Toby are singing and the construction workers on the roof of the house across the street stop what they’re doing and they look at us and start laughing, but not because they’re making fun of the old man and the dog.

The old man then leans down again and places Toby on the sidewalk. He tells me he hopes I have a great day and he continues on his walk with the black dog, whose name he’s never told me, and Toby, the brown dog that sings. I look at them as they walk away and I think to myself that for a brief moment we’ve been kids again, the old man, the construction workers and me. And I yell out to the old man, "Thank you! I hope you have a great day, too!" But I don’t know if the old man hears me, because he doesn’t answer me.

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