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Dog walks commence like clockwork every morning at five. The time is constantm but the light varies depending on the season. Yesterday morning we walked in the nautical twilight of a morning sunrise. It is near Lammas Day; for the next six months our morning duties will be done in the dark.

Harper still perks up for her walks and it is good to see and a relief on my part. She has slowed down – ‘in her dotage’ as Someone calls it – and when she sleeps it is so deep it looks like death. She wakes for walks though, and doesn’t turn them down. We walk slower now; she is not pulling me down the path in a gummy excitement to get somewhere as fast as possible. It is good to see her still curious at all the sniffs and such.

Lately we’ve become fixed in a certain walk which consists of going out the door and hard to port to at the end of the block and hard to port again, to start a sort of clock-wise rectangular path through the gully wash to the east of our street. There there are more interesting things to see and smell, and more privacy to poop (and no front yards to soil) The waste station is near the entrance of the trail; it would be better if we went counter-clockwise so by the time she’s done her business the rubbish-bin is right there. I’ve tried to steer her this way but she prefers the clockwise approach. At our age I am no longer interested in training Dog to obey Master; she can lead me.

I’ve read through centuries the co-existence the Man and Dog has caused us to mind-melt some to pick up on each other’s emotional states. We’ve intertwined to the point we can perceive each other’s affects. I believe this. Someone tends to be excited when he joins us on a walk ; Harper picks up this and becomes excited herself. Our walks (sans Someone) are quiet more mundane matters, which are low-key and not too interactive. She’s sniffs the world and I am on my cellphone sending “Good Morning” memes. I should stop looking at the phone and be more with Harper, while I have the time.

A new ritual has arisen: normally when we approach home I toss the black bag over the tall locked gate to the back yard for later tending, and we head to the front door. Someone has asked me not to do this, but open the damn gate and put the bag directly into the trashcan. Fair enough. This means unleashing Harper, telling her to stay on the sidewalk while I walk around the bush to unlock the back gate, go inside etc. Sometimes she follows me, but mostly she waits in the driveway looking impatient as if eager to get inside as soon as possible, which is quite probable. After each morning walk we head to the kitchen for fresh water, a scoop of Kibbles, and the obligatory post-walk treat. Stopping to unload the waste bag stalls this a minute and it is enough to evoke sad and upset looks.

I try giving Harper a power-point lecture on the time -saving advantages of doing our morning routes counter-clockwise to drop off poop along the way so as not to delay going home to treats, but she sleeps through these seminars. Dogs are no interested in time management. It’s a dog’s life to sleep and sniff and poop and eat meaty treats. I can think of no better arrangement.

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Spo-Reflections 2006-2018