By Tony Russell

It was one of those sunny days we've been getting between the snows, temperatures in the low 60s, while the buds on the trees and the early spring flowers stayed bundled up, wondering whether it was safe yet to take a peek.

I decided to take advantage of the break in the weather and walk Scrappy over to the park. He was almost frantic, trying to mark every tree we passed, and my arms were wearing out trying to tug him along. "Let's give it a break, Scrappy," I told him, and dropped down on a bench beside Fred, one of our longtime neighbors.

When he didn't immediately say hello, I looked at him more closely. "Hey, Fred," I said, "are you okay? You look a little shaky."

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