Fayston, Vermont. Have you been out yet? Golden girl Lucy and I attended our first public event on the Fourth of July, a dog parade at Sugarbush Resort to benefit the Mad River Valley’s PAWSitive Pantry.
Before the event, I was nervous at the idea of being around a lot of people. Yes, I’m vaccinated, but still I’m wary. I worried that most people at the event would be people I don’t know from places not nearby, thus a risk of exposure to COVID. But I told myself that the dog parade would be a fitting homecoming. I worked at Sugarbush for almost ten years. Over a year had passed since I had been to the base area because I didn’t ski last season.
I was concerned for Lucy, too. I wasn’t sure how she’d react to a crowd after our confinement. Like her humans, she has been sequestered from other people – and other dogs – during the pandemic. However, Sugarbush’s New Year’s Eve dog parade was her first public outing as a puppy all those years ago. That year, my boss allowed me to leave work early to take her. He even made her a “staff” name tag.
I needn’t have worried. Lucy, true to her nature, loved every minute! Hands of all sizes reached out to pet her. Dogs sniffed their greetings and made her acquaintance without incident. She wagged enthusiastically the entire time. I loosened my grip on her leash and exhaled as small children gathered around her because Queen Lucy soaked up their adoration with gentleness and mutual affection. I swear she hugged them back. As we made our way over the parade route around the base lodge, I could feel my shoulders relax. My nervous smile became genuine.
After we came home, Lucy drank a bowl of water then fell asleep, snoring loudly.
With Lucy as my guide, I learned that it’s o.k. to come out now. It’s time to celebrate each other and our community. Hugs feel good. When I returned to one of my favorite places, surrounded by dogs and a few familiar faces, I experienced a restorative homecoming.
Then, it’s best to have a drink and take a nap.