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Walking the dog

Dog walks in January are challenging that morning and evening strolls are done in the dark.  The gelid temperature is another factor. Evening walks are lovely at ~ 20C but in contrast the 5AM romps see temperatures below 10C (into the 40s F). oh the pain.  One has to wear a jacket and sweater and perhaps gloves.  Hot or cold, day or night, it is all the same to Harper. She is ecstatic to go on a walk in all conditions other than in rain.*

Sundays are the best in her eyes as Someone often goes with us; nothing delights her more than having both The Friend Beast and The Other Dog (Urs Truly).  We go later in the morning to appreciate the apricity of the winter sun.  We often head to the nearby municipal park.  Harper loves the park.  If the coast is clear we take her off her lease to have her run widdershins and willy-nilly even if only for a few minutes.

She was kept on -leash this morning for the park was full-up with tots at soccer practice.  The municipal munchkins looked quite young and nearly all of them were Hispanic.  Curiously everyone was speaking English.  There were several hombres as coaches, many well over four feet and quite gaupo. One coach was rawther cross; he seemed to be conducting his class like a union leader during an unpopular strike.

While Someone was talking about this, that, and the other, and I was wondering about one of the coaches for private lessons, Harper paid no attention to any of this. She was engrossed in smelling all the shrubs. I often wonder what she gets out of these olfactory intakes. Occasionally she decides after a close inspection to squat or even lift leg to add to the redolence.

We have just returned from a long and merry walk and now there is work to be done. While Someone and I will spend this Sunday doing chores, Harper is already asleep on the bed. Later she gets a long-overdue bath. She won’t like it (for water is involved) but the aftermath is another walk this evening.  It’s a dog’s life.


*She abhors water, whether in puddle-form or precipitation. On rainy days we have to shove her out lest she pee the house in her obstinance to stay dry.


Walking the dog

I haven’t done one of these in a while. The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections is away at Askersund so they are not minding the store. Chances are they won’t even notice this when they return.

It is November; all morning walks are done in the dark. It’s also cold enough to require long pants and a sweater (for me). These morning walks are a shorter due to the weather. At 5PM the winter constellations are high above us. Orion and his dog Sirius light up the sky paralleling our situation down here on Earth.

I try to vary each morning’s walk to a different direction but Harper has her favorite – towards the park. I suppose that is where she finds the best smells. Walks are mostly about sniffing the sights than for exercise. I am wary of the park at 5PM lest there are coyotes or javelinas, so in winter months I stick to more well-lit areas. Sometimes Harper cuts the walk short as to imply disapproval of the route chosen.  Sometimes I wonder if she just wants to go home as the walks all end with a dental stick. She loves treats. As long as we’ve had her she always takes these sticks away to eat them out of sight. All my other dogs would eat it right then and there.

Sometimes Someone gets up at the same time to get ready for work. This confuses Harper for she assumes he is going on the walk with us. It is a hard-sell to convince her he ain’t going. It is a disappointment. This supports my hypothesis she doesn’t see me as the second master but the second pet and we are better off taking our walks with proper supervision.

Walking the dog

It is again warm and bright enough to do dog-walks at 5AM. Harper is glad to go any time of the day, provided there is no rain (she hates it so). Unfortunately it is high season for allergies and I am not very comfortable out of doors. Dogs don’t seem to have allergies. ‘Dog-walk’ is a misnomer. These should be called ‘Dog-sniffs” for the highlight of these outing is stopping at as many bushes and posts as possible to inhale what olfactory delights are present.

Tuesday mornings are especially good for canine peripatetic outings, for it is ‘trash day’: everyone has their rubbish bins out at curbside. This is convenient for discarding waste bags, rather than having to bring them home or locate a local rubbish can. Throughout the neighborhood are ‘doggie stations’ discretely set so man and dog can get black plastic pickup baggies and discard waste. This is to promote good citizenship to pick up after your pooch. From the looks of things, not everybody does this.

Returning home from our walks I report to Someone. Always the scientist, I describe the weather and the conditions of the walk, as well as its timing and pace. Harper’s urinary and bowel functions are presented as if I am conducting a medical conference.

While I do this Harper goes first to her water bowl and then she stands outside the pantry in excited anticipation of a post-walk treat. I wonder if she loves walks so much knowing they end with a treat. She doesn’t like dry bones but proper treats (no rubbish) of ersatz pepperoni sticks or bacon. O I’ve been tempted to try one myself, but then I look at the bag and conclude they are all just chemicals and ‘beef products’ – whatever the hell that is.*

Soon it will be hot enough to limit dog walks to the twilight hours lest the sidewalks burn tender paws.  After a hot walk Harper gets a treat and I go into the pool. There is nothing so delicious as a dip after a dog walk.

*Snouts and such. I’ve read “The Jungle”; I know how these things go.

Walking the dog

Harper has a lot more to sniff these days on our walks. Last week we had a some rain that combined with 20-30C temperature to produce a desert viridity that is seen at no other time. Alas, what came up and out were mostly weeds. You have to admire their cheek. They appear literally overnight and they are everywhere, including in cracks and high places one thinks not possible to support plant life.  Harper is not particularly interested in plants as she is in posts. If dogs have such keen olfactory systems why on earth does she have to bury her snout-deep into bushes and what not? She stands transfixed for a apparently in rapture about whatever scent is there.

The season is turning so our morning walks are now in twilight rather than darkness; long pants and jacket are no longer required (by me, not Harper). This makes for longer walks, which is good. The vet says Harper’s weight is steady, correlated with frequent exercise.  My weight is not so steady, so dog walks are more imperative for Urs Truly than for Princess Pooch.

Saturday dog walks are thwarted by Someone and I first going to Einstein Bagels. You try explaining to an excited dog we are not dressing to go for a walk but to go out for breakfast. I think she understands she is next in line for upon our return she is quite excited, circling the drawer in which is kept the leash and poop-bags. Saturday walks often involve going to the park, where, for a brief time, she can run around off leash. She tends to run around me in wide circles as I slowly tread across the field from one end to the other. A drone looking down on us would think we were a model for a Hydrogen atom.

Alas, it may be better weather for walking but it is allergy season again, especially for tree pollen. My nose is running and the allergy medication does nothing. While I type this through watery eyes and sniffles I see Harper on the bed. She is on her back with four legs up and out, looking like a plastic toy cow tipped over on its side. She is fast asleep. It is a dog’s life.

Walking the dog

Harper, sensing trouble, has kept to her kennel. I daresay she knows we are leaving on a trip and she is going to doggie-day care. Perhaps it is the weather that has made her morose. After a week of continuous sunshine we woke this morning to pouring-down rain. She hates the rain.

This morning we managed to get in a walk before the incessant rain began. Dog walks are usually a peripatetic stop-and-sniff affair, but when it began to sprinkle she picked up the pace and made a bee-line for home. At least we got in a trot prior to going to the pound. Harper went right back to bed which roused Someone from his slumber. Wet dogs do that.

I will miss our daily dog walks when I am in California. I like the evening walks best for they settle my digestion. Harper senses this and becomes excited when we clear the table. Evening strolls are shorter than the the morning ones.  It doesn’t seem to matter; Harper likes walks of any length.  Most of the time I sense she only wants a walk so she can get to the end: a treat.  Harper likes her treats; like the walks, they come in two types. We have beefy-sticks and ersatz bacon strips. Both are eaten with relish.

I think by now Harper has the lay of the neighborhood that if she should become lost she could make it home from memory. Or so I hope. As the days grow longer the walks do as well; I hope to expand our territory this year.

The veterinarian says Harper could stand to loose some weight so longer walks more frequently should help – as would cutting out the treats. I don’t think she will like this but diets are hard.

Anyway it is off to Petsmart for her and Palm Springs for us.  I hope to catch up on blog reads this weekend.

Walking the dog

There is no rest for the wicked not even on Saturday mornings. As I try to sit still with my morning cup of tea Harper is before me, in a mild swivet, restless from pleasures unabated. I know that look: I want to go for a walk. So it is up and at’em and out we go.

Peripatetic Saturday strolls have the advantage the sun is up and morning sunshine stimulates our retinas – or at least mine. Harper is head-down to the ground rather.  I’ve learned dog-walks are not so much continuous trots but what the musicians call rubato. Harper loves to sniff bushes, posts, etc.  We have sudden stops to go nose-down over some amazing olfactory find. Occasionally she responds by leaving her calling card.  Harper can be quite butch viz. at posts she lifts leg like a boy dog. Them that squats to pee – there is no judging them.

Most of the neighbors use inflatable plastic christmas decorations that lie like melted puddles during the day time. The morning light shows these hot-air items are nestled among the cacti and prickly pears. I would think this makes for easy and frequent punctures. Other types of decorations would be more practical, say made of concrete. These would also be good for dogs to pee upon.

Speaking of yard trimmings I see less manger scenes made from mannequins. I suppose this is because The Baby Jesus is often stolen and changeling-like something put in His place. This ersatz white-elephant present swap is considering not at all funny.*

Harper of course is oblivious to all these Christmas creches, other than to smell if another dog has peed in the straw. I think she becomes upset to sense another  pooch has been there already in adoration of The Baby Jesus.  It gives new meaning to the proverbial Dog in the Manger.


*At least not by the homeowner. Mickey Mouse, Pokeman, or Chuckie the Horror Doll in lieu of The Christ Child evokes hilarity and mirth even when one tries to suppress such.

Walking the dog

Last night I slept alone but woke to company. Harper was over me, looking down, in agitated anticipation on a decision most vital: are we to walk?  Aye, we were.  It was up and out for the morning ablution of exercise.

It is that time of year when dog walks start and end in darkness. It will be that way until March. The Helliconian heat of Arizona has finally broke and I need to wear a jacket now (although shorts remain possible for another month).

Dog walks in the dark have some dangers. It is harder to see others coming towards us. That may not be an approaching dog but a coyote or (worse) a javelina.  Harper is discrete where she poops, preferring to do so in total darkness. This makes tidy-up a bit of a challenge.  The most hazardous matter is the paper man. At 5AM he drives like a demon with no regards to stop signs or driving on the proper side of the street. On more than one occasion I’ve been nearly run over. This has burned my bacon to the point of calling the newspaper to remonstrate about his recklessness, but I worry he may retaliate. Mostly I hold back as it makes me feel like one of those old men who write letters to the editor complaining about kids on his lawn.

This morning I weigh 78.5 kg. I don’t know how much Harper weighs. Both of us could stand to lose some fat around our middles. We are going for the ‘every day x 30 days’ goal of dog-walks. Exceptions: if I am sick or run over by the paper man.

Walking the dog

I woke this morning to a sudden swat of a paw across my face. I was in the beginning of a seduction dream (nice) with a patient of mine (creepy). I won’t ever know if I was to succumb to such a lurid taboo as the paw-swat woke me right up. I opened one eye to find Harper over me looking worried-excited, as if it was last call to board a plane. I know that look: time to get up and go for a walk-walk-walk. I put on my trousers, Harper did her pandiculations, and off we go.

After seven years more or less doing the routes you would think it would lose some luster, but we leave home like a greyhound out of the gate. She can’t wait to get to the bushes for her sniffs. Do they elicit euphoria? Do they tell her the neighborhood news?  Whatever the reasons she loves to nose about the shrubberies.

It is getting cooler; our peripatetic morning ritual becomes more pleasant – and more in the dark. Harper doesn’t mind the dark. The one thing she does mind is water. Princess Pooch will walk a wide arc around running water or a puddle so as not to get her paws wet.

Don’t tell Someone but we are getting sloppy in our steps. We should be stopping at every corner for her to sit before crossing the street. In my desire to keep going we plow forward. I need to reverse this lest he join us some morning and be aghast how slattern are our habits.

After the walk, Harper wants a treat. We think she’s gained some unnecessary weight so the doggie-meaty-yummie-stix have been halved. Usually she takes it and runs off to eat it in the living room. Now she swallows the tidbit in a gulp and sits there looking for more. I daresay she sulks some when no more is forthcoming.

Ah well.  The disappointment sure hasn’t put a dent in her enthusiasm for morning walks.

Harper 11.jpg

Walking the dog

Harper doesn’t seem worse for the wear for having been cooped up in a kennel for a week. She is always glad to go home. We have returned to our (near) daily dog walks. My brain is still on Atlantic Time; I wake a 4AM bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Harper is keen to go on walks at any time of the day, so off we go.
August in Phoenix is the worse month for it is both hot and humid; our morning walks are not very comfortable nor are they long. Harper sometimes calls it quits by making sudden U-turns and back home we go. Some mornings I barely have time to hear The Writer’s Almanac on podcast.
At the conclusion of dog-walks Harper wants – nay demands – a treat. Doggie treats fall into two categories: the snack-food equivalent of nasty chips or healthy tidbits designed for her teeth. After morning strolls I give the latter, called dental-stix. These are not refused but not as coveted as the pup-er-oni rods. Go figure.

Someone rarely comes along on our matutinal strolls. Harper is always happy for his coming along. As he pauses to lock the front door she jumps up on him to push him along. “Give him the boots!” I shout at her, as I stand waiting at the end of the driveway. Someone is more disciplined than I at making her pause and sit at every street crossing.

I am looking forward to cooler days when we can stroll longer and faster without the sense of wanting to get back home into the AC.

Walking the dog

This is the time of year when morning dog walks are more regular and happen earlier. The sun rises at five AM and the sidewalk soon heats up to the point of it is too hot for dog-paws.  Harper, sensing the routine, is often up before the alarm goes off – snout in my face with ‘that look’ of anticipation that is not quite certain. If she senses a ‘yes’ she becomes instantly active as a child on Christmas morning.

Even at 5AM it is rawther hot and a brisk long walk isn’t too much fun. She is more likely than not to make a sudden early U-turn as if to say ‘I didn’t want to do this anyway’.

The evening walk is more capricious than the matutinal. Even after sunset it’s in the 90s and no fun for dogs. The morning stroll can be peripatetic but not so the night stroll. These last ~ 5-10 minutes; they are mostly around the block to catch up on the latest sniffs and bushes.  Still, she likes the notion of going even if once outside she realizes it’s too hot.

On these sweltering summer strolls I used to go a-walking sans shirt, but I am now too vain to do so. The young men who walk or jog bare chested are chiseled Adonis and they know it. Next to them I feel old, ugly, and a bit creepy. So I keep my shirt on thank you very much.

There is a new development to the north which is just opening up so Harper will have something new to explore. It also gives me the excuse to go snooping as to what’s there and are there any handsome hombres outside sans shirt. However it is too hot for anyone to be out of doors. Nobody out but the occasional other dog walker and his or her pooch.

Now I must adjourn. Harper is at my side, tapping her last year’s Pradas for me be done and get going. Last I checked it was 93F. I sense this will be a short one.

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