Tony’s home where we first lived was situated at the end of a cul-de-sac, surrounded by trees and walking trails. It was a rural area, though within the Town boundaries, and neighbors were collegial. In those years, some pet-owners allowed their pets to roam about and visit whomever or wherever, including an exuberant hound named Bud and an aging border collie named Ritz.
Tony’s dog Sheba had died, and the everyday silence, before me, was broken only by the mutterings of Eddie the parakeet, and sometimes the sound of Bud baying at the moon on a starry night.
Ritz reserved her visits to daytime, and ambled down the driveway every morning for a biscuit and some pats. Wild rabbits abounded, and one summer Ritz had a bunny friend who hopped alongside her and stopped just a few feet from the front step. It was astonishing to see them, we even thought that Ritz slowed her walk to keep pace rather lead their parade.
The story goes that one afternoon, after we had moved away from the neighborhood to a new home, that Ritz took a notion to race at full speed around the perimeter of her owners’ home at least four or five times. Then she stood stock still, and fell dead to the grass. Tony always said with a laugh that when his name was called, he wanted to “pull a Ritz”.