Community//

The Doors of Perception – A Walk with a Man and a Dog

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” ― Aldous Huxley

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The Man:

“Yikes, I cannot believe it’s 7am.  I have been up since 5. Where does the time go? Still need to finish reading these emails.”

Got to go take the dog for a walk. The weather channel shows 28 degrees outside without the wind chill. Better dress in layers, bundle up and wear the warmer shoes. Who goes out for a walk in this weather anyway? Just crazy dog owners! Maybe there will be no one else on the street so I could finish this walk fast.

Here comes ‘B’ the big black lab retriever. He has that look on his face, with the ears slightly perked up, the tail wagging and the tongue loosely hanging from the corner of the mouth. Is that a smirk on his face?

 I ask ‘B’ to wait while I bundle up and put on the shoes. Need to stay warm for this walk.  “Okay, come here, “I say, once I am ready, and click the collar around his neck. I press the button to open the garage door and ‘B” scoots out as it is opening. I wait until it’s completely open and go to find him in the yard.

Once the morning business is done and I have picked up a bag of stinking poop, we start our walk.  First, we must cross a rather busy street to get to the quiet paths. I hold his leash tightly, commanding him to stay while we wait for the appropriate moment to cross.

We quickly cross the street and ‘B” makes a beeline to the storm drain. He spends an inordinate amount sniffing (probably foxes and raccoons who use the storm drain to get from one place to another).  I finally pull at the leash – “Come on, we don’t have all day.”

After a few minutes, there is another storm drain. “Do we really need to stop at ALL of them?”

The quiet of the morning is interrupted by two dogs barking from the house across the street. They stop at the fence. Knowing they will just bark till we are out of sight, I ignore them.  A little further down, the neighbor has placed all his fallen leaves for collection. ‘B” decides to go straight through the leaves.  A little tug of war ensues as I try to maneuver him away.

The delicious cold air, the bed of autumn leaves and the sun beams streaming thru the evergreens take my thoughts away. Only to be rudely brought back as I feel a sudden tug on the leash. It slips out of my gloves and ‘B’ has taken off to meet another dog just around the bend. I run after him yelling, ‘Stay, stop, comeback.’

‘B’ is now sniffing around a golden retriever.  The lady holding that dog is both terrified (at my dog) and annoyed (at me).  I run up and grab the leash. The two dogs now move in different directions. The leashes get entangled. After some yoga like choreography, we are all free and I mumble an apology while pulling ‘B’ away.

The rest of the walk is relatively incident free. ‘B’ ignores the squirrels as they prance around the trees.  A fox in the distance catches his attention and he stalls for a minute. The fox takes off in the other direction.

We walk back towards the house, re-crossing the busy street.  Inside the house, ‘B” waits, looking at me for his morning treat.  Once I give that to him, he ambles across the room, gulps down some water and settles down on his mat for the morning

The Dog:

“Where is everyone. I have been waiting for ever. I am starving. Oh, I see the one they call ‘Daddy’.  I call him ‘D’.  Let me stroll over to him and see if he is ready to go for a walk. ‘D’ is constantly staring into that square looking light and his fingers are scratching some hard object.  ‘D” should only be scratching me. 

Maybe if I smile at me, he will get off his chair. It worked, he is moving. Why do humans need to put on extra clothes?  My fur works for me for all four seasons.  Although I don’t think they understand how hot I get in the summer. Ok still waiting for the signal to go. I guess I better wait, other wise it will just take longer to go outside.

Here comes the collar around my neck. I hate it!  A small price to pay for the walking event every day. I can think of some small humans who should have a collar and a leash.

There goes the garage door, I smell the outside air, and time to run out. I got to find the right spot, I got to find the right spot. No one understands how difficult it is to find the right spot. Those lawnmower people are constantly destroying my yard. Repurposing my identified spots. There! Found the spot for today. What a relief. Now I am going to move ten feet away and scrape up some leaves and toss them behind me. No idea why I do this. I heard from a Husky that it’s left over from the days we were wolves.

Now we must cross the place where the cars and trucks go streaming by. What an awful noise, and they leave behind stinking clouds of smoke. How uncivilized.  The Husky (a wise person) also told me about some dogs who chase these cars.

I am now being dragged across by ‘D’. “A little less strangling, please, I don’t see any cars coming on the street.  I can now smell that hole with the hard covering.  I know the foxes and racoons use this to get to the trash cans at night.  Another piece of knowledge from the Husky, I wonder how he got so smart.  I think there is a racoon asleep in this hole.  Just can’t get thru those bars, but sure can smell him.

Another tug on the leash. Really, ‘D’, you have no idea what you are missing!  Why don’t you come down and poke your nose thru the bars?  Oh, I forgot humans have a terrible sense of smell– is that why they can’t smell their own odor? Those flowery things they put on themselves – yuck!

There are my two buddies! I call them “One” and “Two”. Never been introduced to them as they are always on the other side of the fence. Something about ‘an invisible fence they can’t cross over’.  I don’t think they know what they are taking about. I can clearly see the fence. They will continue to yell at us until we take the bend in the street.  I always ignore them.

Fresh fallen leaves, how I love the fall!  Tearing through the leaves is an amazing feeling.  I feel some more tugs. I guess I should come out of this mess. 

Hey, I smell a Lady retriever.  I see her sometimes on the walks, I look over to ‘D’; he is lost in his own thoughts. These humans are so unfocused. Good for me, he hasn’t seen the Lady yet, I will run over to meet her. Here I go.

“Hi Lady, so good to see you! What’s the matter, Lady, why are you backing away?”  Someone is holding on to my leash. Let me go under the other leash and over to the other side of Lady. Why are these two humans screaming? I feel a sharp tug. Oops ‘D’ is mad, better move along. “So long, Lady.”

Nature is the ultimate relaxant.  The squirrels running up the trees (I cannot be bothered to chase them) and the smell of all the dogs and foxes who have passed these streets and left their marks. It is my obligation to re-mark these streets till I run out of marking fluid. Sometimes I try to mark even when I am out.

Speaking of foxes, I see one now. Urbanization has left the poor fox without his own habitat. I do admire his freedom though. He still hunts for his own food, blazes his own trail and sings the songs of the wild. No collar, no owner, just the night sky for a blanket and the forest leaves as his mattress.

As I contemplate the alternate lifestyle, it’s time to go back home. The thoughts of freedom turn to food and comfort. I hope ‘D’ remembers my after-walk treat.  After a few anxious moments, a catastrophe was avoided, and I get the treat.

Ah, home sweet home. Time for a long nap before the next event.

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