Adventures in Dog-Walking

Three things about our walk today: a proverb, a mystery, and a memory. First, the proverb. As we approach a greenbelt in the neighborhood, Jack stops and sniffs. It is a place where we regularly see a cat. He sniffs, and runs, and frightens, but he never gets close enough to catch that darn cat. So, today, I wait while he sniffs, and I run after him through the field because, quite frankly, chasing cats with no promise of catching them, is really rather fun. I’m just about to ask Jack why we haven’t seen the cat yet when we come face-to-face-, well twenty feet to face, with a well-fed coyote at least two times as big as Jack. We all stand still and stare at each other for about ten seconds. I try to slowly pull Jack back and head the other direction, but he will have none of that. He begins with a low growl, then a soft bark, and finally he is pulling frantically as if he is stupid enough to chase the coyote the way he would a cat. I’m yanking him back and telling him to leave that thing alone, and he is ignoring me. The coyote nonchalantly strolls away into the bushes. He can’t be bothered with the likes of us, and he has already had his breakfast. Thank you, God.

New Proverb for Jack:  It is neither polite nor wise to chase a coyote twice one’s size.

Next, the mystery. For quite some time, we have encountered on our walks a man at whom Jack loves to bark. I call him purple-sweatpants man because he always wears purple sweats. Today, he has shed the sweats in favor of long black shorts. As he walks by, Jack ignores him. Stange indeed. I know that dogs are color-blind, but . . . .

And finally, the memory. Someone in our neighborhood has washed a car, and the water is running down the gutter toward the storm drain. The autumn leaves are being carried along life elfin sailboats. Jack is intrigued. He tries to catch them with his mouth but draws back quickly, shaking, when his little nose gets wet. From then on, he just watches, and I remember playing with leaf boats for hours on end after a hard rain in my home town in Florida.

A proverb, a mystery, a memory. Good walk today.

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