Sisko and I were supposed to retire together. Retirement would be an endless stream of "butterfly days"--perfect days spent doing what I want to when I want to. Butterfly days started off with Sisko and me taking a walk down the road near our house, watching the sun brighten the day, listening to the birds chatter, and in Sisko's case, smelling everything. I smile, remembering the time he was hurrying to catch up with me and skidded to a stop to catch a smell he had missed. Our best times were on walks. Stuck in the house while I was at work, he would wait patiently for me to get home, then follow me hopefully until I said the golden word: "Walk?" We walked as two companions, not as dog and mistress. Sisko never got used to a leash. I think it offended his dignity. Instead, he let me know that he was perfectly capable of doing all those leash-type things--heeling, keeping out of traffic, staying--on his own. He was a very sensible dog.
Soon, I told him last year, soon we'll be able to take morning walks every day. It will be perfect. We'll grow old together and we'll take shorter and shorter walks together. But his walks got shorter before mine did. Arthritis slowed him down and a liver ailment took him from this life. Sometimes things just don't work out.
I still have butterfly days. Now when I take a morning walk, Sisko's memory keeps me company. Good boy, Sisko!