No one knows exactly how old Paloma is. Best guess is 12 to 14. She's one of the park dogs although people think she's mine because she shadows me. Or they think she hangs out with me because I feed her. For the record, I'm probably the only person here who DOESN'T feed her. I think Paloma hangs with me because I'm alone - people- and dog-less - and she feels I need someone.
A couple days ago I almost killed Paloma. She followed me too far up the beach. I was quite a way ahead of her and thought she'd turned back. Apparently she kept plodding along, her short legs carrying her big arthritic body for nearly two miles. Later at the park she had a massive nosebleed, caused by over-exertion and high blood pressure.
Now I close the gate behind me if I'm going for a long walk. Short walks do her good.
There's this man I see on the beach all the time. He's old and very dark. He gathers cans and anything else of value. In years past he was accompanied by three dogs but now he walks the beach alone. I don't know what became of his dogs but Paloma and Osa always ran up to him when they saw him. He's got that kind of a spirit. So Paloma and I were on the beach when the old man showed up.
Now that's a happy dog.