Walking the dog

When we first moved into the area to the north of our house was desert. In the past year this wasteland was plowed up and a development was erected. The newly built houses are mammoth, bulbous beige monstrosities of a uniform ugliness although no two are alike. The only positive is there are more streets and trails for Harper to explore on our dog walks.

Our peripatetic strolls are never predetermined. It is good to vary the direction. I do this hoping Harper will get the ‘gist’ of the layout so if she gets lost she can find her way home. The new development to the north needs exploration to sink it into our memories. When everything looks alike it is easy to get lost.

Harper seems to have a favorite route. We turn right when we get to the end of the driveway and then we go left crossing the street and go towards the schoolyard and the adjacent park. Despite its familiarity, she always seems to in a great rush to get there.

The park has the most interesting bushes and pillars for sniffing. If stretched out the olfactory receptors of a human would be the area of a postage stamp; a dog’s would cover an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. So why is it if a dog’s sense of smell is so superior she has to stick her nose directly into things in order to get a whiff?  It’s a mystery, as is why we have to rush around as if we are about to miss the bus?

In the morning after my shower when I go into the walk-in closest to dress Harper now follows me in hopes of a sign for a dog-walk. On her face is a tense excitement looking at me like ‘Yes? Yes? Do I dare hope?”

If I say the magic word ‘walk’ and nod my head she explodes like a piece of machinery that was given one ounce of pressure too much and she goes into a euphoric agitation. I can not dress fast enough in her eyes.

Alas, sometimes I shake my head ‘no’ and she puts on a face the sort seen in ASPCA commercials used to guilt-trip you into giving them money. Then she goes away to brood like Ariadne auf Naxos.

Happily she seems quite satisfied with any length of walk whether it is ten or thirty minutes. A mere quick spin around the block makes her happy. Dogs are easily satisfied; they express such gratitude. No wonder dogs are man’s best friend.

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