Dances With Dogs.

dogsMany of us have daily routines, but something I only realized recently is how often our routines are shaped by things we don’t control. I like to think I set my own routine but circumstances help shape it. This occurred to me when my afternoon walk home from the bus stop changed. Every day for years I walked by a neighbor’s house that had a fenced front yard. And every day two dogs would come running up to the fence. They had their names stitched on their collars in bold letters so I knew they were called Major and Minnie. Major was a gray and white mix of, well, who knows, but at least part Boxer judging from his broad head and muzzle which I think makes Boxers look very thoughtful and distinguished. And Minnie was at least part Labrador retriever, but she was small and leggy with a splotch of white on her chest. I’d say hello as I went by. Major would whine at me and Minnie would bark and jump on him, clearly saying, “Play with ME!”

One day I walked up to the fence and they both stood up on their hind legs and wagged their tails. I didn’t put my hand through the fence—never, ever do that, kids—but I did put it up flat against the fence and let them sniff it. This made them happy although I’m not sure why.

A few years later a For Sale sign went up in the yard in front of the fence. I didn’t really think about it until the house was sold and one day as I went by Major and Minnie weren’t there. Then the new owners tore down the fence, and that’s when I realized that not only were my canine friends gone but there wouldn’t be any others to take their place. They weren’t my dogs and I only saw them for a few minutes a few days a week but they were part of my routine—a part I looked forward to. I missed them.

And then as I was passing another house I heard barking from the fenced in backyard. He’s some kind of Terrier mix and I have no idea what his name is, and I’m not going to cross someone’s yard to get close enough to let him sniff my hand, but we say hello to each other. We’ve become part of each others’ new daily routine.

10 Comments

  1. Ray V.

    Dogs and humans are all about routines. It is always good to have at least a little “dog time” in each day. It reminds me not to take life so seriously.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      “Dog time” is always good. And fortunately my three always remind of me the things in life that are really important: sleeping, eating, and chasing squirrels.

      Reply
  2. Gina

    Awww, this is kind of sad. Not sad like, “And on moving day both dogs escaped and were never seen again”. Still, the removal of the fence did make it permanent. Unless, the new owners someday get a dog and instead use an “invisible fence” system. See– hope blooms eternal! And at least you have your own doggies waiting for you at home, which is even better. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The “invisible fence” system seems to be a good way to encourage dogs to run away. Once a dog gets through it they don’t want to go back to where they belong. I know this from neighbors who’ve tried invisible fencing and the inevitable result is their dogs end up in our yard.
      But having our dogs at home is always the best. I would tell Minnie and Sergeant that I had to get home because I had kids of my own waiting for me. I think they understood.

      Reply
  3. halfa1000miles

    Can you come live here? Please please. I’m pretty sure my neighbors think of my dogs as “those annoying dogs that follow me down the fenceline when I walk by”. They are friendly followers. I swear they are.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yes, I will be more than happy to come and live near you if you don’t mind me occasionally coming up to your fence to let your dogs sniff my hand. Actually it’s kind of scary that I know the dogs in my neighborhood better than most of my neighbors. I’m on a first-name basis with the Basset Hound who lives three doors up but couldn’t even tell you what the people who own her look like.

      Reply
  4. Ann Koplow

    Your posts get my thoughts dancing, Chris. Today, I remembered a dog I loved to see on my walks, whose owners had installed a stick holder on the fence, so that people like me, passing by, could engage and play with their dog. They must have moved, too, because the dog and the sticks are no longer there. I miss them, every time I go by.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s a wonderful idea to give passers by a way to engage and play with their dog. I can understand why you miss them. A few minutes of spent throwing a stick for a dog would brighten up any day.

      Reply
  5. M. Firpi

    I’m having a great time with my dog. I really like this post.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m so glad. Dogs really do bring a lot of joy into our lives. And sometimes some annoyance, but it’s worth it.

      Reply

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