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Robins Walk

Aileen, Maryland, USA
October 2000

First I would like to provide you with a little background...

When I was a freshman in college, my Mom and Stepdad decided to buy a beautiful, purebred bloodhound for showing. Her name was Robin, and she was the most amazingly funny animal I ever met.

Because of her size and clumsiness, Robin was only allowed in the lower half of our house, blocked in the kitchen and family room area by baby gates. On the rare occasion that she was able to get past the gates, she would run, full-speed, up the stairs.

The upper floor of that house was arranged sort of like an H. There was a long hall down the middle of the house with two bedrooms on each side.

When Robin made it upstairs, she would run in and out of each bedroom in a specific pattern: first into my mom's room, back out, down the hall and into my room, back out, and across the hall into the TV room, back out, down the hall into the spare bedroom, back out, and then bolt down the stairs. Usually my sheltie, Mandi, would chase her the whole time, barking her fool head off.

Around about Robin's first birthday, she began having seizures. Even with medication, her seizures worsened until she finally didn't come out of one. We had to put her down.

A short time after Robin's death, I was home from college for a break. My Mom & Stepdad went out for the evening, so I was home alone with Mandi. I was sitting in the family room and watching (quite appropriately) "Unsolved Mysteries." Suddenly I heard the sound of dog nails scratching across the linoleum floor in the kitchen, like when a dog tries to run across linoleum and is sliding more than moving. Mandi popped her head up from her sleeping position next to me.

The sound continued into the foyer toward the stairs then stopped. Then the sound of a four- legged, heavy animal bounded up the stairs. I ran for the foot of the stairs and continued to listen. Mandi followed close at my heels. The bounding footsteps went first into my parents' room, then back out, down the hall, into my bedroom, then back out, into the TV room across the hall, then back out, down the hall and into the spare bedroom, then back out. The "pawsteps" started down the stairs, and I quickly backed out of the way, as I had so many times before when prepared to be run over by Robin in her exuberance.

At the last step, the noise suddenly stopped. I stood there for a moment. Robin was there that night I decided. She was doing her normal thing, letting me know that she was OK. I looked down at Mandi, shrugged at her, and the two of us returned to the family room to continue watching the show.

I never heard that sound again, but I know Robin's playful spirit was always in the house with us.

Aileen, Maryland, USA
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