My living room looks like the dog daycare exploded in it only without all the little tote boxes and the barking. There are leashes, umbrellas and plastic bags, boots, hats, scarves, gloves, towels, tug toys, clickers and all manner of canine bullshit scattered all over the room. You'd think I had three or four dogs. I've only just begun to appreciate the idea of a coat rack but unfortunately there's no place to put one.
Since I'm on the topic of paraphernalia, here is my question for all you dog trainer types out there: Where do you keep your third hand anyway? I mean, I have the leash; I have the clicker and the treat and maybe even an umbrella. At some point, I end up with a big bag of dog poop which I carry along like it's my party favor. If someone honks or says hello, invariably that's the hand I (accidentally) wave with - the one with the loaded bag. I have to steer the dog and keep her focused. I have to watch where we're going and maneuver us past racing, yes I said racing, school buses and FedEx trucks. Let's don't forget that I must also stay relaxed and meditative about the whole thing lest she parlay that teenage nutty streak of hers into a game of "You can't catch me even on a four foot leash." Constantly, I hear people say the dog knows what I'm thinking. I don't mean to contradict this very popular canine (psychic) theory but if the dog knew what I was thinking, there would be no reason for her to lunge at a little kid on a bicycle more than one time. "Jeez, mom's actually thinking about murdering me - maybe I better behave myself."
Check out this (sweet) Pedigree video at Terrierman's Daily Dose
Walking the Walk
Last Friday, Stella and I went walking at a cemetery near the house. We go pretty often because it's close to home and there's a place in the back corner where the fence runs out where you can slide down a retaining wall and end up in the parking lot of PetSmart. It's kind of like dog walking Nirvana. We don't usually buy much when we're there but we do cruise all the aisles and publicly curse the fact that there's never so much as a single piece of dog food on the floor. That day, just by chance I bought some dehydrated beef liver (for class on Saturday, she's doing really well at home and pretty well at class).
We get back to the cemetery and I put Stella on the long leash so we could play ball in a little empty space at the back. We try to be dignified at the cemetery so as not to fire up any grieving family members. Not long after that I hear a dog barking. In the distance I saw what looked to be a good sized dog challenging us from a distance amid the flower arrangements. That's odd I thought. I'd never seen a dog loose in the cemetery before. I wondered if it was lost or just visiting. Then something very strange happened. The one barking dog turned into five dogs. Biggie-sized. All of them scattered about in the corner, all now standing watching us; ready to protect their turf. The first thing I did was open the bag of liver. Unfortunately the camera was at home. I can only describe it as something that might have been in a Stephen King movie.
Stella saw them but didn't seem terribly excited. Once I got her safely in the car I went over and told some gravediggers about the dogs. They looked at me with the same level of enthusiasm that every gravedigger I ever met seems to have. On the way out we drove past the dogs one more time just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating and check them out up close. Again, they all stood up on cue and the five of them got her attention this time.
The above shot is from a different walk in that same cemetery. It's the grave site of Marty Robbins and his wife. Stella and I hunted for it off and on for five months before I finally walked into the office and asked them where it was. The young man I asked - had never heard of Marty Robbins and seeing as I didn't know his real name is Martin Robinson, they had to do a little hunting too. We finally found it but not before Stella launched off barking at a concrete Jesus.