Last Saturday, we took advantage of every break in the rain to walk our dogs, not knowing when they'd get outdoor exercise again once Hurricane Irene pounced on us.
The news reports were ominous. Earlier in the day, people were loading or unloading supplies from their cars, boarding up windows, piling up sandbags, and setting up new generators and sump pumps. Mr. Darcy and I stopped and chatted more than usual, because everyone wanted to know: Are you going or staying?
By the end of the day, the streets were becoming eerily quiet. Darcy wasn't walking with his normal swagger or pulling me along (we get a lot of "Who's walking who?") to all his familiar sniffing spots. He stopped at the end of the block and refused to move. He surveyed the changed landscape — where were all the people, dogs and cars? — and he looked to me for answers. I tried explaining the situation, and finally he let me take him in the opposite direction, toward his dogsitter's house, where we found Irene (no relation to the hurricane) getting her two chocolate Labs ready for a walk. Strolling along the boulevard with his friends seemed to restore some sense of normalcy. It turns out that they were staying, as were Marie with Buddy and feisty Bella.
Darcy's best friends and daily playdate mates, Suzy and Abby, along with their human, Mike, would be staying, but Meg and Emma were heading out of town. Our street was emptying out but directly across the street, Charlie, Linda, Derek, and Bonnie, a sweet Spaniel, were staying to ride out the storm. So glad they did because when Sunday morning rolled around and the bay waters slowly rolled up the street and overtook the sidewalk, it was comforting to see friendly faces across the way.
Thank goodness the waters receded before drowning the cars in the driveways and entering our houses. We cheered and shared thumbs-up from our front doors. The power stayed on, so we were able to monitor Irene's progress and watch with sadness what was happening on the beach. Once the rains stopped, Bonnie and Darcy frolicked on the deck. They had both weathered the storm in relative calm. Darcy was a real trooper and had braved the elements to venture out his doggie door to "do his business.”
We took a walk to survey the neighborhood, me in knee-high rain boots and Darcy hopping puddles, downed trees and branches as if it were an agility course. Some streets were worse than others. Later, the winds really picked up, but Darcy just had to check on his girlfriends, so we made our way to Mike's where Darcy had a joyful reunion with Suzy and Abby.
The cleanup is under way, and last evening the "Oreo Club" (Meg's name for our two black dogs and her white Retriever, often piled up sandwich-like) had its first post-Irene playdate in the muddy-ish yard. The puppies were ecstatic, and their humans celebrated with a Prosecco toast.
I hope everyone and their puppies, whether you went or stayed, is home safe and sound.