Monday, February 24, 2014

The Dog, The Hedge, and My Shoulder

I spend most of my time out following Rack around town.  When someone sees me outside of the house, it's one of three mile-plus walks.

When you walk around in circles three times a day, you end up seeing things.  Neighbors at the same time and place.  Other dogs.  Stranded snowbirds.  Leftover partiers from last night the bars. 

It's all a part of living in a resort town within a resort town.  While Fort Lauderdale's Spring Break heydays are long gone, there's a definite chilled out atmosphere here. 

We do have a number of routes.  People, and their dogs, are creatures of habit.   Same time tomorrow is a good rule of thumb.  I expect to see the same people.  There's one person who has a habit or walking past my house with a chihuahua.   He's notable because his bald head has caught the rising sun of the morning more than once.  Instead of walking his dog, he's carrying the dog in his left arm.   It is always his left arm, the dog is always upside down, and the dog's head is usually draped over the crook of that arm lolling around.

Needless to say it's "That bald guy with the dead dog again!" comes to mind when I see the top of his head bouncing over the top of the laptop screen.

The first walk of the morning starts in the same way most days.

Check the weather conditions to know how to dress.  69F in mid February with not a cloud in the skies, light breezes off the ocean?  T-Shirt and Jeans.  At a quarter to six in the morning, I expect a quiet walk.

Try to coax Rack to eat.  He's more interested in getting outside.  Parked at the door after he sniffed the bowl, I know it's going to be a bit of a rush.  I'll have to call him over about three times before he calms down enough to lasso him with collar and harness.  Silly puppy!

We walk out the door, down the couple of streets and end up in the parking lot.   I wander through the place randomly from tree to tree, in a rough approximation of Brownian Motion.  My being a very large molecule bounced around by a smaller more reactive one in my dog.

Silly mutt, Go Poop.  Go poop... NOW!

Well, that didn't work!

We make it through the large parking lot disinterested in the open spaces.   Of course.  It's not private enough.

I'm getting accelerated as he pulls me along.  Luckily I wake up fairly quickly in the predawn hours.   Looking to the skies, Venus is bright and the moon glow casts it's light on me making shadows on the ground. 

But Rack just still hasn't found The Place.

I'm getting concerned.  Will he do "it" again?


He's out on The Drive, snuffling around the bases of the hedges.  Doing The Dance, he begins to spiral inward as he spins seeking The Spot.  Pirouetting on a point he drifts behind the shrubs.

Crap!  Literally and figuratively, I think, how on Earth did he do that AGAIN?  Fair enough, I never did like those public restrooms either, but a bashful dog?

Rack has a habit.  Find the smallest spot you can, then go in there.  If you need to do anything do it.

Dog Logic.

The problem is that I don't fit.  I am an athletic 6'4" who drives a now "classic" Jeep Wrangler because I don't fit in a Honda Civic.  Too small a space and I'll get stuck.

I bend down.  Noticing how perfectly shaped the little hedge is I'm getting pulled out from the hedge by the other arm.  Rack!  SIT!  Dog, you're insane, we just won't do it this way again.  Nope!

I wedge myself between the cement of the light pole and the hedge hearing crackling of the limbs and leaves as my arm reaches to clean up after the dog.  Some small bits of plant snapped, I'm now wearing those same leaves and who knows what else on my formerly clean T-Shirt.  There's a dent in the hedge that is a passable impression of my right shoulder that I hope will "buff out".

Pulling free, I vow to not allow him to put me in the spot like that again.  On the other hand, he did the dance and found Magnetic North which was entertaining and a bit of a surprise.  Spinning around before moving their bowels, a dog will generally try to align themselves North and South.  How he managed to find himself enough room to spin around in that confined space I have no idea.  McNab Dogs are a talented lot, I just didn't think orienteering in enclosed areas would be one of those oddball traits.

Now we have a new habit.  Walk on the far side of the sidewalk away from the buildings.  That avoids all the hedges.  My arm is stretched taught toward the building with the dog who really REALLY wants to go, there.

However, that open lot with the tall grass?   Yeah, get back here... awww not again!

Let me get the bag and flashlight out you silly mutt...

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