People are creatures of habit. People with pets are creatures of that pet's habits. I could set my watch by Bou's time table of life. Come in from work with Hubby, he'd greet me like I'd been gone for a month. But if I sat down after that, he'd come lift my hand with his head until I got up and fed him. The evening joke was my asking, "You need to go out?" Bou's reply would be to lay down on his bed. Yet as soon as I sat on the couch and got comfortable, he'd approach with that Elvis grin of his to let me know he wanted to go out. When he was done, he'd literally body slam the front door so I'd let him in.
Hubby used to say Bou trained me.
One part of the nightly ritual was what happened when Bou went out. He'd stand on the top step, survey his kingdom, then go down the steps. We live in the country and are surrounded by fields. Fields often filled with deer. Yet Bou was never interested in chasing them. Every evening he'd go out and 5 minutes later I'd hear a bark. Not one of warning. Or danger. Or annoyance. And every time I went out to see what was going on, there she was.
A Doe, standing in the field, just looking at Bou. And Bou, looking at her. Wagging his tail.
After a while, it appeared they were friends. While other deer would scatter at the sound of Bou's voice, she would always stand still, look at him for a moment, then saunter off. Never running. Just strolling. When she had fawns, she didn't rush them on at the sound of his baritone. No, she and the kids stood there until Bou wagged his tail, then they moved on. This wasn't a one time thing...she's come back for a couple of years now. There's a hedgerow* at the end of the field where she has her fawns each year, where they'll be safely hidden. More than once I'd witnessed Bou lie in the front yard, waiting to see her before wandering off to do his business.
It's been almost a week since Bou crossed the rainbow bridge. Hubby was mowing the lawn yesterday (our 36th anniversary) and when he came inside, he was quiet. I thought it was because of how many times he had to pass where we laid Bou to rest out back, which borders a field. (Remember, we have 5 acres in the country). After showering, Hubby said, "Come with me. I need to show you something."
We hopped on the golf cart and headed toward "that spot". I thought maybe he'd marked it as a way of dealing with the loss...after all Bou did go to work with him every day. As we approached he said, "Bou's had a visitor".
My heart dropped. All I could think of was coyotes had come and disturbed the grave. My eyes searched for signs of digging, but there were none. Then my eyes followed where Hubby was pointing. In a dainty line around Bou's final resting place were a set of deer tracks. The size of a doe's. The trail walked all the way around the spot and never over it.
"There are no other tracks," Hubby offered, pointing out the patches of dirt in the surrounding area. Just here, then back into the field."
It seems we're not the only ones who miss the ol' boy.
*Hedgerows, for you city slickers, are those blocks of trees or brush you see down the middle of a field which serve as a wind break to protect crops. The one above is a small block of trees at the end of the field.