Tuesday, March 25, 2014

If You Want The City To Yourself, Walk The Dog In The Rain

Waking up early is my habit.

There is a clock across the room.  It is clear, my eyesight at that distance is better than 20/20.  But it is also dark.

So there's a choice I had to make.   Ignore it and just lay there looking at the inside of my eyelids, or reach up and turn on the light and wake up the dog.  The watch on my wrist wasn't glowing so it was of no use, and the little reading flashlight I keep in the nightstand was just not being found by my exploring left hand.

Not to matter, the dog was awake well before I turned on the light.  That's their job, to watch over you.  30,000 years of training and breeding can not be ignored.

It was a quarter to six in the morning.

Pulling the earplugs out of my ears, I heard it.   Rain.

Saying the word, Rack's ears flapped down against his head and he came over to me.

"Boy, we're going to have a wet walk."

I put two and two together, got myself out to the front door just in time.  Rack needed out to water the rock by the driveway anyway.

I hear stories about people who allow their dogs to tell them when and if they will go out for a walk.  It's said My Dog Won't Walk In The Rain. 


That's training.  Your dog trained you to buy into its own dislike of being wet.  "Buck Up" and get yourself outside, there's a world waiting for you.

In our case, we were between two lines of storms.  These weren't thunderstorms, I won't walk in those either.  It's just foolhardy to walk your dog outside in a lightning storm carrying a metal framed umbrella.

This was just a light dribble.  Not enough to worry about.  The trees were dripping more water than the skies were.

Going outside and off the property was a bit of an experience.  The air was crisp and sweet.  The rain was the main sound that I heard.   Being in an urban environment, you grow used to hearing the highways around you.  Regardless of how quiet your area is, if you listen closely and wait, you will hear a car at some point.  The only time I ever heard absolutely zero traffic noise was when I would take my Jeep out to the New Jersey Pine Barrens and turn off the motor.  There is a sand road back there, a fire trail actually, that is far enough away from everything that you literally hear nothing man made.  It is an experience that most urban dwellers never get.  Since the majority of us Americans are urbanized, most people will never get that experience, I would wager.

The traffic was muted.  Sound was scattered, and it was early as well.  We didn't hear much other than the rain. 

Rack looked up at me and smiled when I said "It's quiet, boy!".

Nearby Dixie Highway had a random car here and there, but the wet roadbeds were keeping people's speeds down. 

The rain also keeps the usual flocks of birds quiet here as well.  They don't want to be eaten and if they don't make a sound, it is harder for a predator to find them.

The white noise of the weather surrounded us.   A distant grumble from a cell that was in a front over the Everglades made it to my ears.  While it is urban here, there aren't a lot of concentrated tall buildings to muffle sounds.   Things carry well.

Anyone who says they don't talk to their dogs when they walk would be fooling themselves.   Dogs are great listeners, even to the blather that I spout when I am half asleep.  This morning was no different from usual in that respect.

"It's chilly out!  Enjoy it, this is going to be the last cold snap before summer."
Doggy smile.

It's late March.  We never got a large block of cold weather.   What's cold for us is Room Temperature for more Northern Climes. 

Yes, it was chilly.  All of 20C/68F.   That's what passes for Winter Weather in South Florida.  I have met people who say that if you put on long pants, it's winter.   Maybe they were right, but the cool water merely felt invigorating on my skin.

We made it to the corner.  Having walked the block behind our house, Rack wanted home.   It wasn't due to the rain, he's getting lazy.   Or rather, he's getting slick.  He's realized that he needs to go outside and do his business in the morning.   If he waits to eat until he gets back, it will be more comfortable to him.  On the other hand, I only get a half mile walk in the morning when he pulls this stunt so I'm not completely blameless.  My coffee was calling me.

"Come on, Rack!  Show me Walk!".

He turned back to look at me and then turned to the house.

"One more time, show me walk!"

I get a wag out of his tail.  We're going home.

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