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Sunday, March 20, 2005



The other night we decided to walk our dog after dinner, something we never do, but which seemed that night like something that needed doing. At the edge of the dog park we ran into Jason, who works for a neighborhood dogwalking company, and sometimes walks our dog, and has even boarded him a couple of times when we've gone out of town. My dog went crazy, dancing and jumping, and then another dog came over, and it turns out this dog is our dog's walking partner much of the time, so more jumping and exuberant running. We felt like we were discovering our dog's secret life.

We held off on hiring a dogwalker for a long time - it felt like crossing a line, like soon we'd be buying him sweaters and feeding him a gourmet diet. But as our workdays got a little longer we decided to give it a shot, and met with Pete, the godfather of the neighborhood dog community - who, confusingly, runs a company called David's Dog Walking (he inherited it from David and didn't want to change the name, in case clients who'd moved away came back into town). Pete is like a horse whisperer, but with dogs - the first time our dog met him, his eyes got this swoony look, and he was drawn to Pete like a magnet. So now he gets two walks a week, sometimes more depending on our schedules, and when we go out of town he sometimes stays with one of Pete's employees, like Jason.

So at the dog park that night we started talking to the other dog's owner, and we learned that Sid, the owner of Comet Liquors on Columbia Road, had passed away a few days before. The Post wrote a story about it... Sid was a neighborhood institution, and while we weren't personally close, we shopped at Comet frequently (not just for booze but for H&H bagels, sometimes turkey, sometimes lox), and we definitely appreciated the role he played in the neighborhood. Hearing the news of his death was like hearing about a dear but distant relative's passing, the one who always danced up a storm at weddings and told you stories about when your parents were kids. The woman, the dog owner, who shared the news with us, said the funeral had been lovely, and that neighbors were thinking of forming a co-op to keep the store from being replaced by a chain.

Yesterday I was walking my dog again, our typical morning route, which takes us past Comet. The storefront was a shrine of rememberance - yellow lilies and bouquets from Safeway in plastic wrapping, small plants, candles glowing in glass jars, hand-made notes and signs stuck to the glass, under the neon glow of the sign that said, mistakenly, "open." I stood there with my dog, and others stood next to us, and I felt a community I hadn't known existed.

I'd like to join the co-op they're starting.

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