I don’t remember the day I bought the round, cloth red leash, the red leash for a red dog. It seems like it’s been with me for a decade or more.
Over the years I’d grab the red leash when I’d take red dog River to Champoeg State Park, located in Newberg, Oregon. The red leash was attached to River each time he returned to the obedience ring to receive his placement ribbons. He wore the red leash when he traveled across the country with me from Oregon to Florida. His red leash was with him at training shows, hiking around Mt Hood National Forest or hanging out with other dog friends. The red leash was a symbol of our attachment, our connection, our bond.
My other dogs also wore the red leash, on loan until they had their own special attire. But the red leash was for the red dog, the Border Collie with the pink freckled nose and the upright ears, the Border Collie who had a whiny pathetic bark when he wanted attention, the Border Collie who chased squirrels relentlessly yet trembled frantically during thunder and lightning storms.
It was the red leash I grabbed when I took River to the vet the day he stopped eating, the red leash that lay forlornly on the empty car seat next to me on the drive back home. Then the red leash rested in the china cabinet along with River’s cremated ashes and his glass trophies.
It came to me suddenly this morning that it was time to give the red leash a new purpose, new memories, now a red leash for a red puppy, a new beginning.