I live on a hill. It’s a pretty big hill, certainly one that will slow your pace and cause some heavy breathing should you walk or bike up. Especially if you are 105 years old.

We found a large, russet-colored dog wandering the hilltop one weekend — an old soul and gentle giant. He was tired, dehydrated, and a bit gimpy from the trudge. And he was very disoriented, seemingly unsure of where he was going or what to do next. He had a choker chain, but no ID.

We took him inside “the compound”. It wasn’t difficult to coax him in. With huge pendulous balls that betrayed his not-dead-yet libido, my two (female) dogs were quite the lure. After drinking an insane amount of water, he followed Sophie around the rest of the afternoon to the point of her annoyance.

In the evening, he laid on the porch, the limp finally getting the best of him. He ate some dinner at that very spot, unable to even muster the effort to stand. Unmoving, he slept there overnight. By breakfast, he had regained his strength, and his senses. He was now intent on walking the fence line and looking out the gate, longing for ‘home’.

I wasn’t about to turn him loose unattended, so on the way to work I snapped some quick photos with the intent of making a poster for the neighborhood. But there was no need. Past the bottom of the hill, on the main public road, a new sign had appeared: LOST- BIG RED DOG. I called the number and made arrangements. So after a brief sleepover, “Cisco” was reunited with his owner.

That was a little more than a month ago. Yesterday, I got another call from the owner. At 15yrs of age, Cisco has passed. He knew that I had snapped a couple photos, and given that his camera had broken earlier in the year, was hoping I still had those more recent shots to remember him by. Unfortunately I had deleted the originals when I thought there was no need for a flyer. But, luckily, they were still captured in my Photo Stream. Thanks Apple.

RIP, Cisco.