We didn’t know his name, this massive, chocolate-colored pit bull. He sat in the reception area of a veterinary clinic with two good Samaritans who’d encountered him on their morning walk. I’m leery of big dogs, but this handsome guy insisted on being friends. His tail wagged like a windshield wiper on full speed, and periodically he’d offer an enthusiastic bark to remind us he was part of the conversation going on around him.
I said, “He looks like a Roscoe to me.”
The female half of the Good Samaritan couple gasped. “That’s exactly what I said, isn’t it, Honey?”
He nodded. “Yep, but he doesn’t answer to that. He’s not Roscoe, but he’s been microchipped. We hope they can track down his owners, or at least provide us with a name.”
The four of us, including Not Roscoe, sat waiting—them for an answer and me for my cat, Gracie.
A young man entered the building with measured strides, and Not Roscoe went into observation mode. Where the dog had been clownish and friendly with me, he went quiet, almost respectful of the young man.
Two vet techs emerged from one of the exam rooms carrying a stretcher. They followed the young man to his truck. From my location I could see them opening the tailgate and then gently lifting a German Shepherd from the truck bed and onto the stretcher. I felt tears clogging my eyes as the young man held open the door for the stretcher bearers.
Not Roscoe laid his head on his paws as the stretcher passed by, and a mournful whimper rose from his throat. It was beautiful and chilling. One dog acknowledging the pain and fear of another.
When the young man, head bent, tears flowing unchecked, left the exam room after some time had passed, Not Roscoe ventured a question. But grief was too strong and the young man left without a word.
The Good Samaritan couple petted him and said what every dog longs to hear, “You’re such a good boy.”
He earned that.