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We live on a hill called Telegraph Hill where the houses have character and many of the local people are characters as well.

Years ago, when our children were much younger, we got talking to one elderly man and his dog. The dog was elderly too and had lost her voice by then. She couldn’t walk well any more either, so the man carried her in the crook of his arm and did the walking for her. The man (until today we do not know his name) would carry her around bark for her. He’d get our children to connect with her, by looking in her eyes, and then he’d do the barking and encourage our children to ‘bark back’.Our children were up for the challenge! Over time all three of them really worked on their barking act!

One day, inevitably, the dog died. The man never got a new dog. Whenever he meets our children in the street he stops and asks them if they remember how to bark. They are older now (13, 12 and 9) but they oblige and still bark for this old man. Our most recent encounter with him was a few days ago. Our youngest son did his best barking ever.

Now, in English the word ‘barking’ is a synonym for ‘crazy’ (as in: he is barking mad!)

This man loved his dog so much that he still barks for her. Is he “barking” or are we, for thinking he is barking?!

Imelda Almqvist

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