I taught a fun class in the morning and then returned home. Along the side of my house is an alley that accesses all the houses behind me, so my area is very social. I noticed one of the neighbors, holding her dog and chatting with my next door neighbor over her fence. I went to join them and heard a confusing Japanese sentence. Either they meant, “Naito-kun became not here (i.e., went someplace else)”, or they meant, “Naito-kun died.”
After a little explanation, it became clear that my neighbor’s cute, light brown poodle met his final fate on the holiday yesterday. Apparently he ran out in the street during morning rush. My street is not a big one, but it is heavily used during the morning commute; and many of the drivers race down the street. The elementary school uses this are for the kids to get to school, so we are a little concerned about safety.
Apparently, the driver was going considerably fast and slowed down to look back after hitting the dog, but never stopped. In America we would consider that extremely rude, but in Japan it is completely shocking. By the time the neighbor got a taxi and found an open animal hospital the doctor gave her a strong recommendation not to try to save him as his lungs were in bad shape and his eyes were growing very distant.
I love animals very much and am always petting the neighbors’ dogs when we are outside. So, I was a little late for calligraphy because I stayed there and listened a lot. We were just talking a couple days ago about how hard it is to talk to someone who has had a loss; it’s just impossible to find the right words. However, she really seemed to need to be heard and understood. I bought just a few souvenir presents in Kyoto yesterday, but I gave a package of small Japanese sweets for eating with thick green tea to the neighbor. She felt they would be perfect when she pays her respects today.
This made me think about my Fritz who passed away this year, but poor Naito-kun was still a little puppy and Fritz, Fred, and me have lived a long and happy life together. My neighbor’s kids are all adult and moved out, so she really depended on his love. Fortunately most of our block are friendly and supportive.