At 10 last night Wolfie and I walked in the backyard, waiting for him to find his spot. A warm, dark night, clouds trailed long, thin drapes across the stars — a good night to be outside, but almost as soon as we stepped out of the house, Wolfie became alert, wired into a scent only he had found. Shifting direction, hurrying, we followed a path of something away from the house and into the field. When we turned back to the road, Wolfie came to attention, back legs braced, head up and short-barked once, sharply. I looked in the direction of his gaze; slipping out of the darkness, low to the ground, a black dog appeared, Wolfie’s father, Shura. He came to me, tongue out, delighted, working his way into my arms.
We called our friends. When Alla arrived, she was shaken but relieved. She had misunderstood. She thought we had found Shura’s body on the road. Sitting on a chest next to the door, in a soft voice, melodious with the lilt of her native Belarus, she recited “Shura, Shura, Shura”, waving her index finger in such a way that Shura, looking temporarily remorseful, dropped to the floor.
A few minutes later, ready to leave, Alla opened the door of her car, and Shura jumped into the front seat, then to the driver’s side and back and forth until Alla got in. Face to face under the dome light, Alla’s lips moved, and Shura, their faces almost touching, bobbed his head up and down, the prodigal redeemed.