I would always let him gaze for a moment by slowing my pace, but would then tug on the leash and Aaron would respectfully comply with head sagging until we arrive safely once again at home.
This would go on for some time since the house was empty from the time I moved into the neighborhood just three years prior to the five year anniversary. Sometimes, on our walks, we would go the other way and not cross the house, but then Aaron would be reluctant to come back into my house. When left outside, he would just stand by the gate looking for me to let him out. Eventually on these days, I would hull him in when it was getting dark. Aaron's head would sag lower than normal and rest quietly near the front door until the next walk.
This went on, as I said, for three years, but I have to admit I only noticed this trend for about eighteen months. I picked Aaron up from the shelter shortly after moving into the neighborhood. He is a mutt, but if I wanted, I could tell people he was a lab cross breed. A gentle soul that reminded me when to give him his pills for his bad heart.
The anniversary came and I read it in the local free paper sent through the mail. It wasn't front page news or even second front page news. I found the story toward the back where the front page stories were continued. There was a small black and white picture. There was a headline: "5th Anniversary of Brian's Charity Approaches with Big Plans". The picture showed Brain, at the time an eleven year old kid, with a dog sitting on the front porch of the same house three blocks away.
Brain was a child with incurable brain cancer from birth. Each day was a blessing every doctor doubted would come. Brain knew this, and with each day he collected donations to help less fortunate families with cancer fine some comfort. The charity in its 5th year continues to fund events, outings, and special moments for people to spend with family and friends who otherwise wouldn't have the means to do so.
On the 5th anniversary the house would be turned into Brian's House to run the charity needing a rezoning from the city.
Before the anniversary, Aaron and I went on a walk like we did every day. Only one day I stopped at the house and let Aaron be silent. I calmly unhooked him from the leash and he looked up at me needing permission. I nodded, and Aaron slowly walked to the front porch, sniffed at the door, then turned to face the street, laid down and put his head between his paws.
I stood watching for a moment, and then had to sit on the grass. Only one person walked past and she just gave an understanding smile. When it started to get dark, I walked over to the porch and sat next to Aaron the way Brian did. Aaron looked up to me and I down to him. He stood, and I connected the leash.
We went home and Aaron slept on the couch never again lowering his head.