Lilly’s Lesson: Forgiveness 101

Evening walk time with Lilly, our Boston, is family time.

My wife and I catch up on both the magical and mundane events of the day, discuss plans for the upcoming weekend or ponder the merits of living for now while keeping an eye on our distant retirement prize. At least some of this time is spent trying to “walk off” some petty grudge held against a person who did not act as we believed they should.

Lilly, of course, is oblivious to our patter. She’s too focused on checking out the latest posting by her fur-brethren on our neighborhood’s urinary message boards or scouting for her fur-friends. However engrossed we are by our two-legged concerns, our radar is always tuned to situations that could provoke Lilly’s reactivity and preparing for intervention (lately, she’s been so good!).

Last night we returned from our twilight trek true to form: poop bag tossed in the trash chute, keys jingling in the lock, Lilly’s butt planted firmly on the welcome mat, awaiting our release command. We opened the door and walked in, Susan on the cell with her folks, me contemplating the next move in the chess game with our homeowner’s insurance company which is definitely not acting like a good neighbor.

I shut and double-locked the front door. Susan and I cuddled on the futon in the den. The day was behind us. Our “problems” - we concluded - only have as much power as we give them.

Watching a TV news segment, we heard a soft, muffled whimper. My wife and I looked quizzically at each other. This is not Lilly’s typical response to dogs passing on the sidewalk below her third-floor perch by the window in the living room. Another whimper . . .

“Holy Crap!” I yelped, running to the front door and flinging it open.

There was Lilly, waiting for an overdue welcome from behind the closed door.

“OK!” I said, to which she bounded in, leapt upon the futon and regaled us with a series of hand-stands.

“We’re so sorry, baby,” we pined. “How could we forget you!”

But we did.

Did Lilly call us out for being so careless and self-absorbed? Did she charge through the door with an axe to grind?

No. She licked us silly, then plopped down next to us as if nothing had happened.

All was “forgiven” - and I suddenly remembered that the past is just where it should be and that everything my wife and I were planning for was already here.