It was different. Even the paths we took varied from my original routes.
She wasn’t my dog. She and her boss, Sarah, are staying with us temporarily. Sarah has gone to work. Maureen was out on many of her daily excursions. It was way too warm for an old man to take a walk: high 70’s. Way too hot and dry for a Southwest corner February. We need rain. Like last year, but that ain’t happening. It looks like i’ll only burn about a quarter cord of firewood this year. Last year, i burnt more than a half-cord.
So midday with a number of my tasks accomplished, i decided what the hell. The dog needs to get out. Our gardener was at work and his and the dog’s relationship is tenuous at best. She senses fear, i think. We also now have to be aware of the dog jumping our five-foot fence to play with the neighbor’s Samoyed. She steals his toys and brings them back here. Our neighbors aren’t particularly pleased.
So it was a walk.
When Cass, the old labrador owned me, he and i would take a short retreat before bedtime. It goes down a hiking, horseback riding path around a couple of houses and back up to the street. Short. There are trails off of this path, but that was my night walk with that crazy dog and my excuse for a walk with Lena, the rescue who followed Cass.
Back then, there were three basic routes. One was this short one, used more often as both Cass and Lena aged. Then bane of old dogs dictated short. But before the hip problems emerged, we would go down the short trail but take the second path further downward to a drainage trough around to the arroyo and then back up to the street about a half mile below our home. We would walk back up the street for training purposes, not his or hers but mine before arriving back home. Earlier this week, i took Billie down on that route. Billie Holiday, that is. Sarah has followed in naming our pets after some famous person from the past. Cass was named for Ike McCaslin in Faulkner’s novels. Lena was named for Lena Horne. Our black and white cat is named Bruce Willis. Maureen’s long-haired black cats when we married were Bogart and Bacall. Only Dakota, named by Sarah when she got her while living in an apartment near SDSU, escaped the famous personality name.
The third route was a bear. About a half hour. We would go to the top of our hill and then take the trail west down, down into the canyon, all open space. once at the bottom, there was a nice walk through the meadow in the canyon. But then, the path climbed up, steep up to a ridge about a third of a mile, just steep climbing. We would walk along the ridge, back down to a path winding around the meadow and then the last, steepest climb of them all back to our house. It was just less than an hour (if i didn’t stop to catch my breath). That was the walk Lena loved. She would wander all over but keeping tabs on where i was and returning often. Cass? Hell, he didn’t care where i was. He was off. He chased coyotes and played with them when he caught up. i think they were afraid of him. He would roll over possums. Once, before i took him off leash, he damn near yanked my arm out of its socket when a roadrunner ran out into the path just in front of us. He didn’t love that walk. He was part of it, a master.
Soon, i plan to take Billie on that one. But for now, we will stick to the tamer routes. Billie, by the way is a Catahoula mix, apparently there is some German Shepard in her. A Catahoula Leopard dog is also known as a Louisiana Swamp Dog, bred to hunt alligators. i believe it. Still Sarah has trained her to be the best obedient pet we have ever had.
It was a good walk. We’ll do a long one soon. It’s good to remember.