It was the animal scent that separated us from the other puppy raisers. We had just arrived at North Attleboro's World War I Memorial Park, which has a collection of llamas and goats, a horse, a pig, and a donkey or two. This was all new to Rescue, who, until that moment, hadn't realized the planet held mammals other than humans and dogs, two cats, and the caged Guinea pigs at PetSmart.
Apparently, the waves of scent flowing into Rescue's muzzle knocked me out of his consciousness because he tugged at his leash as if I wasn't there. The other puppy raisers and their dogs moved on ahead. I knew I'd fight Rescue throughout the park unless he collected himself, so I put him in a down-stay in the shade beneath a picnic table. While Rescue dug furrows into the dirt with his nose, I watched a small boy in purple, plastic sunglasses feel his way down the restroom ramp with a white, ball-tipped cane. His mother steered him toward us, smiling.
The boy could make out shapes, I think, because when his mother pointed out the dog, he wanted to know why Rescue was underneath the table. I told him that he was hoping to find spilled picnic food to eat. I gave Rescue permission to say hello. While he licked the boy's hands, the mom told me she's considering a seeing-eye dog for her son when he's older.
The boy told me his name, Declan. "If you come back here next week, I'll make you a bracelet," he said. His mother suggested he give me one of his. Declan thought about that for a moment, then pulled a plastic beaded bracelet from the stack on his left wrist and held it out. I offered him my hand and asked that he put it on for me. Declan slipped the elastic over my fingers and patted the bracelet into place.
I've been wearing the bracelet off and on since. I'm wearing it now. The beads are photosensitive. I like to step outside into the light and watch them transform from white to multiple hues: orange, pink, blue and yellow. And I think of Declan and his mom. And of Rescue -- who shines his light onto each encounter, adding color to my life.