Ellis learned to ride a bike and Isis learned that bikes coming out of the machine shed meant a good, long run. We all learned that we had to trick Isis into coming inside before getting bikes out if we wanted to go far. She loves a good run, but in later years her range grew shorter and shorter. She was getting pretty deaf, too, and slept pretty deeply, so sneaking away for her own good was getting easier and easier.
On Wednesday, only one black dog ran to greet me. I worried a little about where Isis had got to. I looked around the yard, checked my aunts' garage—during last week's afternoon thunderstorm she had wandered in there and got locked in—but the garage was empty. At supper-time I called my high-pitched, squeaky yip—the only call she can hear—but she didn't come trotting around the corner for her dinner as I'd hoped. Poor Isie has been failing for a long time, and I knew what I signed up for fifteen years ago. But I thought one morning I'd find her curled on the living room floor in a deeper sleep. It's not like her to wander by herself. I looked for days, but our house is surrounded by acres and acres of corn and beans. On Monday we found her in the grass waterway, farther than she's walked in awhile. We sat in silence considering how she is already returning to the earth. She chose a peaceful place to lie down for her last nap. I'm grateful for all of her years of friendship and faithfulness. Rest well, Sweet Isie.