A friend and I have the good habit of taking Eleanor and Beatrice for a daily hike over in Turkey Creek. It’s about three miles, generally long enough to wear two young dogs out. As we walked, she was telling me about one of her neighbors, a man with two elderly Weimaraners. She would see the man out walking both dogs on a regular basis, but the dogs’ gait has grown slower as of late. Yesterday, she stopped to watch as he carried one of the dogs up the stairs, holding it in his arms before moving to the next step. She said that she cried as she watched him carry his dog home.

I teared up, just listening to her describe that man’s love for his dogs.

I’ve been thinking about this story all evening, and I’m reminded of the Mary Stevenson poem about footprints in the sand. A man wondered why he had been left alone during the lowest points in his life, only to find that was when he was not left alone, but carried. Mum has this same poem on a magnet on the freezer, but I’ve seen it as cards, as needlepoint samplers, as pillows, as framed prints. During my lowest times, I’m lucky in that I have had those, whether they be family or friends or even my dogs. Their strength became my strength, their love my love. Without their willingness to carry me, it would have taken me a lot longer to find the sun and learn to sail my ship. I keep hearing John and Paul sing “A Little Help from My Friends,” which is what I think the song was originally titled. Great title, great song, but I think it’s missing the important aspect: we get by, or we get by only with a little help.

I asked my friend to get a photo of this man and his beloved dogs, and as luck would have it, he happened to be out with them just as she returned home. The man in orange is Mike, Scott is directly in front of him, and Sadie enjoys an ear scratch from Mike’s right hand. Scott has a tumor, and after being unable to walk, he suddenly began walking again. Mike takes each day with Scott and Sadie as it comes.

Sometimes we get by, but if we’re lucky, very lucky, we’ll be given help from those we love. We get by with a little help from our friends.

Mike, Sadie, and Scott Enjoy August in Austin

Mike, Sadie, and Scott Enjoy August in Austin –photo credit Michelle Bybee, the aforementioned friend in the post