Sunday, March 4, 2018

Walking the dogs redux ... putting up with people!

Maybe I shouldn’t put my shoes on first. Of all the things that have to happen that precede the dog walk, that is the most obvious indication, and starts the anticipation. And then all the other things that I have to do, the smearing of sunscreen, putting on jacket (chilly in 40s here in Arizona in the am – see pic of Pat with dogs and fire a couple of days back), putting on hat, tearing off bags and opening them a bit so they’ll be ready when needed, putting on hat and sunglasses (usually last); it’s a long and tedious process for dogs, who have to do none of this, to wait for. Some dogs have been seen with sweaters or such, but mostly they are little or very short-haired, I guess; whether in the deep snow in Kansas City or the heat of a Tucson summer, the dogs wear the same things – no sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, jacket, or shoes. Just collars and leashes.
The wait, I am certain, is worse when we were up late, and thus wake late; there are some urgencies in life that get more urgent with time. If it is very cold, or raining, or even dark there is the option of opening the door to the back yard, where emergencies can be taken care of, but it is not their first choice. They will wait as long as they can. Of course, it also delays breakfast (usually on return), but that is more of a tolerable disappointment than delaying the other, um, functions. So they have to wait for me, but still are not going to do their business right away. At least outside the gate to the community (luckily only one house away); you just are not going to go too close to home, not if you are a well-bred dog! (I remember an incident with my late dog Yonkel while we were driving; he started jumping up and down, atypical for him, in the back, obviously very agitated. We figured out what he needed, pulled off the highway, attached his leash, and took him out. He walked 50 feet before taking care of an obviously desperate need. Even in such circumstances, you just don’t poop too close to home!)

Today was a late walk, and the putting on of shoes generated a lot of excitement. Although I don’t think it rained last night, there are still puddles from a couple of days ago (they should dry up in today’s sun) and the ground in the desert park is damp. This increases the smellability of things, apparently, so there are a lot more stops; I may not lengthen the distance of the walk (or even shorten it) but they can lengthen the duration. Today most business was completed relatively early, so we had a while for just walking and smelling. Too late, I guess, for the Cooper’s hawks to still be on the prowl, and we were not stalked by a coyote as they were with Pat a couple of days ago, so it a nice walk. We saw some early spring birds, particularly the cardinal-like crested ones; we saw a pyrrhuloxia (I think, although I can confuse them with female cardinals), and a few phainopepla (not my pix). It is getting warmer in the mornings, and as time goes by there will be less need for me to put stuff on, although even (especially!) in the heat of summer, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, and of course shoes are still necessary. We do get to walk, so I think that they forgive me!

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