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Walking the dog

Again it’s that time of year when morning dog walks are done in the dark. Outside there is a slight cool to the morning temperature. In the pre-dawn sky the winter constellations are ascending just ahead of the sun.

Mrs. Oliver, the great horned owl, has a boyfriend or so it seems. Often we hear not one by two owl hooting. They take turns as if in conversation. Perhaps they are getting ready for All Hallow’s eve. I should look up as see if owls migrate; I don’t remember ever hearing her hoots in the winter months.

It’s a bit dangerous now to be walking in the dark for we could run into a javelina or a coyote. For the next six months we will stick to better-lit paths and streets to avoid an awful confrontation. Harper doesn’t seem to mind. Whither we walk and for how long are of no consequence. She loves dog-walks regardless. In the cover of darkness it is tempting to not pick up after her (and it is harder to find) but I am a good citizen and I have integrity so I do.

When we return home I give Someone ‘the report’. In the style of presenting a scientific paper I report on canine effluvia viz. how many urinations and defecations took place and their composition. I report any signs of canine upset digestion and erratic behaviors. I also relate if there were any Mrs. Oliver sightings and what was the temperature. If it was a clear morning sky, I add any astronomical phenomena and the status of the moon. I don’t think he actually cares to hear about any of this, but it is part of the morning dog-walk routine.

Poor pooch. Next week we are away for a week and she will be at the Petsmart hotel. I don’t know how much exercise/walking she gets there. She is always glad go home from the place and back to familiar comfortable haunts. I like to think this includes our dog walks.


Walking the dog

A storm blew through The Valley of the Sun yesterday. It was a whopper. The sky went so dark it made the street lights turn on. The downpour was intense; there was massive flooding and storm damage. On the positive side, temperatures dropped from 40C down to 25C. On the negative, the humidity went from 5-10% up to 70-80%. Oh the pain. It feels like Savannah.  This is the background for today’s Walking the Dog post.

The Princess Pooch does not like water. She jumps over the smallest of puddles and she walks around the large ones. Today’s morning dog walk was an obstacle course of water spots and down branches. She was not a happy pup. Normally she pulls me down the street but today she walked next to me with the trepidation of a single woman walking at night down the street of a nefarious neighborhood. Both of us turned up our noises as we stepped outside into the humid air.  Neither one of us are used to taking in moisture through our lungs. Oh the pain.

While we dodged the mesquite branches and the horrible horrible puddles Harper Hound was checking out the local sniffs. She has her favorite posts; the bushes she regularly visits act like a canine Facebook. I think she was vexed to find most websites were down; they had been washed away in the deluge.  Poor thing.


In the disarray we were comforted to see Mrs. Oliver, the great horned owl. She was perched on the streetlight, keeping vigil. What a relief to know she wasn’t swept away in the rainstorm.

It’s monsoon season in PHX, which means everyday for a while there is a small chance of sudden afternoon rainstorms – just when we go for our PM strolls. It is impossible to reason with a dog it is not nice to go out. One has to resort to going through the ritual of putting on the leash and going out – only for H to realize it is wet and nasty. She turns around in a change of mind.  It’s amazing what we do for our dogs. They drive us crazy because they know they can.

Walking the dog

Dog walks are particularly exciting on Saturday for two reasons: they tend to be longer in duration,and Someone often comes along. Harper is never happier than having Lord Two Foot take us out together. Alas, this morning we had the rare event that it was raining. Harper is more sensitive than the Wicked witch of the west when it comes to water. Her enthusiasm to get out the door and get going quickly dropped like an egg soufflé. It was a gentle rain, hardly a downpour but it marred the joy the morning’s ablutions. She  frequently paused to shake off the raindrops. Normally she is trying to get somewhere as fast as possible but she quickly turned of ‘The corner of abortive walks’ to let me know she was not having this. We went around the block and were back at home quick as a quarter note. Such a disappointment. She did get in a long pee, which is good, as getting her out of doors today will be difficult so long as the rains continue.

When we first got our dog we were told she was part retriever so be mindful she might have a fondness for the pool thus creating a drowning hazard. Fat chance of that. She avoids the pool like the plague. Once in a while Someone will get her to step in for a quick rinse and cool off but she always looks like she is going towards her slaughter. Baths are not much better. She puts up with them with a quiet dignity only for the sake of a good shake afterwards and the towel rub (she likes that) and the reward of a treat.

Rains do not last long in the desert; they quickly pass and what moisture there is is quickly absorbed by the xeric environs.  Harper and I  will try going out again later this afternoon. She will like that although the plethora of scents may be down by the petrichor.  All the same I have never known her not to say ‘no’ to a dog-walk other than during a downpour. She is a sensible dog that way.

Walking the dog

It’s again that time of year when the 5AM dog-walks no longer are done in darkness. There is just enough twilight  now (for the sun rises at six) to assure more certain footing. Some of the trails normally shunned at night are again open for exploration. This makes for more routes and a larger source of sniffs. Sniffing posts, bushes, and what-not seem to be as important to Harper as walking itself. I read a dog’s sense of smell is extraordinary. She takes in redolence as keen as a tea merchant inspector.  My nose is congested from allergies so I can’t smell anything on these  sniff-excursions.

A bit of daylight is helping to be on the lookout for trouble viz. low-hanging mesquite branches and wildlife. I admit I am not always on my guard but I am looking down at my cellphone or listening to podcasts. I should always be on guard for advancing dogs or worse. We haven’t run into any rattlesnakes or javelinas in a while but you never can tell when they may suddenly pop up. Happily it is too cold at 5AM for snakes to be out and about but this is the right time for javelinas to go poking about.

Brighter mornings and warmer temperatures translate into longer walks. I am not as chilled or wanting to return home as quickly as possible. There is a narrow period of April and May before it  becomes now too hot to stay out for too long.  Apart from the allergies spring is a good time for long walks and sniffs and exploration of the same routes that always seem new and exciting – at least for the pooch. 🙂

Walking the dog

I read there was terrible in the northwest. These reports seem surreal to me as I stare out the window onto a clear sunlight sky. Today the temperatures creep slowly back to March norms of 20-25C (upper 60s to mid-70s F).  Dog walks are still chilly dark endeavors in the morning but by evening our ambulations are beginning to be warm enough to do sans jacket. Like the days, they are growing longer.  I am not as chilled and wanting to get home quickly.

Princess four-feet doesn’t seem to mind the duration, only the weather viz. she doesn’t like wet or rain. Happily for Harper this is seldom the matter.

I should be more cognizant of my surroundings on these walks. The vast majority of our strolls are among familiar routes. As a consequence, I get absorbed into cellphone shenanigans.  This morning when I should have been apostrophizing the dawn I was staring into my cellphone and I almost knocked my noggin into a mesquite tree and serves me right.  Apart from trees that leap out from lurking behind bushes and possible rattlesnakes there are also the risks of walkers, other dogs, and young men dressed in white shirts with black pants and ties (always in pairs) on bicycles s-bpreading the word of angel Moroni and being sidewalk pests while doing so.*

Most dog-walks are without hazards of bumps, bites, or religious conversions.  They are  mundane affairs rather, although Harper doesn’t convey so. Each one starts with the excitement of a 6yo on Christmas morning; she can not get out the door fast enough.  “We are on the prowl!” is the ejaculation said to initiate our tally forth.  Curiously going home has a similar excitement to it. I daresay this is from anticipation of the post-walk treat given without fail. Sometimes H manages to con Someone into the erroneous conclusion she didn’t get one.  Clever bitch.

Today on the dog-walk Harper lifted leg on as many stones and light posts as possible, just like my male dogs did in my youth.  She can be quite butch. Like a lot of dog owners I talk like an idiot to my pet, asking her what she is up to. She doesn’t answer of course but merely pushes on in anticipation of new and exciting sniffs just down the path and then home for a treat and a near-day-long nap. It’s a dog’s life, to be sure.


*They never stop to pontificate with me, even when they nearly run me over. I suppose they think I am a lost cause.

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.

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