No Masks Required


It was a beautiful day in Buffalo. There was sun, a clear blue sky, and a shaded porch. I am sitting with my patient on her porch for the first time ever. I have been with her since before her first birthday. She turned 5 in April, and this is the first time we ever sat on her porch. Then here they come, well they didn’t exactly come, but there they were. Just there. I had to look twice because I was not sure if they were together. They weren’t social distancing, and they weren’t wearing masks, but that was not what caught my attention. What caught my attention was the unusual pairing.

I looked at my little girl and asked,

“Do you see that?”

She appeared to be looking at them, but it did not appear to phase her.

It was a pit and a poodle walking across the street. The only ‘p’ I could think of that went with the word pit, was “The Pit and the Pendulum,” by Edgar Allan Poe. But this was a pit! And a poodle!

I stood up, looked at my patient and said,

“I have got to take this picture.”

I then looked around for owners. I didn’t see any, nor did I hear any disembodied voices yelling,

“Mitzy! Get away from that pit!”


“Duke! Get away from that poodle!”

The two dogs who may, or may not have been together, continued down the street. They sniffed the ground here and there as if taking each other for a walk was an everyday occurrence. Then they reversed their direction and continued walking.

 I looked ahead in the direction in which they were now walking.

“Now what the heck is that?” I thought.

Out of a driveway walks this thing. It’s something blotchy colored. Tan and white blotchy spots. It plops itself down. By now I’m on the phone talking to my sister in Niagara Falls telling her about the pit and the poodle.

“Pinky,” I say. “Something just sat down in a driveway up the street. It looks like a hare. You know. The long hind legs, but I don’t know. Hold on. I must take a picture. I’ll call you back.”

I hang up the phone because I can’t be distracted with all this weirdness going on. Blotchy appears to be looking right at me.

I take the picture.

Then the pit and poodle are heading in the direction of Blotchy.

Blotchy walks further out and I can no longer see him/it because a SUV is blocking my view. The pit and the poodle also disappear behind the SUV. Are they swallowing each other up, or plotting their next move?

Then I hear it. A disembodied voice yelling. It’s not yelling Mitzy, or Duke or even Blotchy. It is yelling the same word over and over, but I don’t understand the language. Blotchy does though, because it trots from the SUV, back into the driveway from whence it came. Mitzy and Duke reappear also and walk in the opposite direction.

As the voice continues to yell, Mitzy ducks under a gate.

Duke tries to follow, but he’s too large.

Unable to escape, he turns and walks in the direction of the voice, then goes into the same yard as Blotchy.

The voice continues to yell, and after a couple of minutes, Mitzy emerges from under the gate. She looks around as if searching for Duke, then follows the path of her companion.

She disappears into the same yard as Duke and Blotchy.

I say to my patient,

“Now there’s something you don’t see every day,” but when I look at her, she’s asleep.

I sit a little longer, then place my supplies in the back of my patient’s wheelchair. I take her into the house. I get her situated then sit down and look at my pictures.

I tell myself, “I have got to write about this.”

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