Framed by my living room window, against a clear blue sky, the tennis ball lofts towards the whirling dogs. It’s a silent tableau, television without sound, a world swathed in cotton.

Mama’s more than just a little hard of hearing and now, the Dexter Dog’s become pretty much deaf.

It’s quiet behind the window as the ball arches over the plum tree then on to the lawn where the dogs dutifully retrieve and return, retrieve and return.

Mama has aids for hearing, Dexter only silence.

Slow to see, we’re coming to understand; call Daisy she will come, call Dexter and he continues to wander.

Evenings, on the floor, the chef leans close and whispers into his ear, speaks his name, in the hope his voice will reach; sift through into his memory, sooth the way.

It’s all silence now, the world smaller and soft as a feather bed, Dexter will sleep as a stone; no sound disturbs his dream, a slumbering stumble block to those who rise in the night or the early morning.

He wakes a little confused, searching for routine, some path well trod, leading to the pack, then outside and back to the breakfast bowl.

Life is a river, if he can see, he will follow; if he can smell, he will find. That which we lose, we learn to live without. Nothing is permanent, nothing remains the same, we adjust and move along.

So, we promise,  we’ll be his ears, watch the street for cars, be there when he awakens and not leave him alone.


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