I turn around and notice that I’m on the lawn of the big white house with a crabapple tree that Bowie loves. He eats the apples. They give him diarrhea, but he still eats them whenever given the chance, so we usually avoid this house on walks.
“Bowie! Apples!” I call feebly.
Just like that, he appears far down the sidewalk. I can barely make him out. He stands still, stares at me, his tail waving like a flag. I yell his name. He bounds down the sidewalk, his ears back from the wind, the excitement. He charges toward me and jumps into my arms, pushing me onto my back. I can tell he knows. He knows he was lost, he knows he was scared and that I was worried. He knows I still love him as much as I did the day I scooped him up for the first time. I carry him the four blocks home, 40 pounds of pleasantly plump Beagle spilling out of my arms as he licks my cheeks.
He came back. Someday, he may not. Someday, he won’t be able to run that fast. Someday, I’ll have to decide when it’s time to let him go. But I refuse to sit with these thoughts for more than a second, because this afternoon, I am the luckiest mom alive: I have more days with my best boy.