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This is the time of year when dog-walks are least liked – at least by me. Harper does not seem to mind; she would walk anytime provided it is not raining. The morning walks, at 5AM, in January, are done in the dark in near freezing temperatures. The minimal walk is around the block at total of five minutes. I don’t have a winter jacket anymore, so I put on several layers of whatever is at hand. At this hour the winter constellations are sinking in the west, with Castor and Pollux are at the top of an arch of descending stars. Overhead in the predawn sky is Leo, king of the spring constellations, heralding the arrival of warmer months. Until then, I bundle up and get in and out as quickly as I can.

Speaking of things overhead, this morning we heard Mrs. Oliver, the great horned owl. She likes to sit on top of the streetlight athwart to home. From this viewpoint she can see us but we cannot see her. It makes me feel glad to hear her. Funny how we use the term ‘night owl’ to describe someone who stays up late and sleeps in late when we three are early risers.

When I work from home Harper gets in three walks in that day, the lucky dog: one in the morning; one at lunch time; and another one after work at 5PM. In the third walk we fetch the mail. She’s gotten used to these times she can guess when they are coming and she gets excited about 1130AM and at 430PM. Telling an excited dog to wait is like King Cnut holding back the tide. On occasion in zoom appointments the patient and I are talking and there is a sudden woof of impatience. “Do you have a dog there?” I am asked.

Someone seldom goes on dog-walks but when he does Harper’s euphoria goes even higher than usual. Sometimes he makes a false move to suggest he is joining us when he actually isn’t. This drives Harper to distraction as she expects him to join us. It takes more effort to get her out the door and get her going. It miffs me despite all my dog-walks she prefers Someone, but it makes sense. In her eyes he is the Master and I am The Other Dog.

It is nice to see in her dotage she still springs up in instant pleasure and energy at the mere mention of the ‘W” word, which we never say out loud but spell out slowly lest we cause frustrations.

I hope Harper, Mrs. Oliver, and I have many morning meetings this year.

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January 2021

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018