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For ten more years we continued to visit Katie, though nowhere near as often as when we lived across the street. She never called us. She never had. A couple of times we persuaded her to let us bring her out to our house on Pommel.
The last time I saw Katie was in 1993, right before Christmas. Craig picked her up while I worked on a turkey. On the way out, they stopped at one of those big tents where they sell Christmas trees, because there was a real reindeer there. Katie got a kick out of seeing him.
We had a nice big dinner and looked at pictures and talked. Pirate was gone, and we had just gotten Wily the previous spring. When Wily met Katie, it was love at first sight.
Then there was a day when Craig reported that he had swung by the old neighborhood and her house had changed. It was all fixed up, and someone else lived there, and the little yellow mustang was gone. That’s it. It’s all we ever knew.
You can read more about Katie Gray in Pirate’s story, in the Dog section. Katie rescued Pirate and arranged for us to adopt him. This was after Tulip died.
Tulip, like most dogs who roam free in the streets, died in the street. She was as car-wise as a dog could be. It was not unusual for her to cross Airport Boulevard to look for handouts at the fried chicken stand. She used crosswalks, watched the lights, and stayed close to human pedestrians.
But she was a dog. One day, she saw another dog she didn’t know, had a territorial moment, and dashed out in front of a car. Both Craig and Alan were out of town.
Katie and I wrapped Tulip’s body in a blanket, placed it in the boot of my MGB, and took her home, driving slowly down the street, wailing, New Orleans-style. Ernie, the musician next door to Katie, followed our little cortege down to Alan’s house, where Ernie dug a grave in a shady corner of the backyard.
Katie and I were too heartbroken to speak, so Ernie said a few words after we gently placed Tulip and her little red scarf in the hole in the ground.
“Tulip,” Ernie said, “You were a good dog, and we’re going to miss you.”