Romantic and inspirational gay male dog story. Roger’s lover’s dog, Cleo, changes his life, especially after Craig is gone. When Roger’s much younger lover, Craig, moved in, he brought Cleo with him. When Craig leaves them finally and unexpectedly Cleo is left behind to grieve with Roger. And Cleo becomes the center of his life. But Roger needs someone to look after him too.
Alienated from his son, his understanding daughter-in-law wants him to come to them or move nearby, but Roger finds that not only is there nowhere for him, there is definitely nowhere there for Cleo.
When things look bleakest it’s an old lover who reappears and comes to the rescue of not only Cleo, but also Roger.
So young and handsome, looking like he had the world by the tail. Walking briskly along, stacks of books precariously held in his arms, Cleo walking proudly at his side, like she had the best man in the world taking care of her. And she was right, Roger thought. Craig was the best man in the world. Even though it had all been messy, even though Roger thought his life was settled before that day in the park and wasn’t looking for the best man in the world to stroll by him as he sat on the park bench reading his Sunday copy of the New York Times.
Things were going just fine with Frank—well, they were going to get back to fine, Roger had been sure. Roger didn’t need a Craig in his life. But sometimes we don’t have much of a choice on the directions our lives go in.
“There, I think they are making progress,” Ann said. “It shouldn’t be long now. But it’s nice enough out here, isn’t it Dad? It’s a nice day, if we have to be . . .” Ann let her voice trail off, sensing there was no good way to end the thought. And to cover, she rushed into the next one. “Rick is really sorry he couldn’t come up for this, Dad. He would have—”
“Yes, I’m just sure he is,” Roger cut in. His voice had turned testy, and Ann shrank from him. He reached out and took her hand, though. He smoothed the skin on the back of her hand with his fingers. He liked the feel of her and was comforted that she was there at his side—and he wanted her to know that. No liver spots there. He didn’t want this to hurt her. She had come; his daughter-in-law had come, even if his son hadn’t. Roger was grateful for that. Ann had always been understanding—at least to his face. She’d been a real trouper, prepared to accept and not to carp.