I am beginning to realize how much together-time Mom and I have, now that Jamie is in school. Mom took me for a surprise walk today. We headed out to the car and I thought we were going to pick Jamie up (we dogs have no sense of human time), but instead Mom drove us to the Forest Preserve where we went on a very long trek.
At first, I tugged a the chain and wanted to smell in a volley of different directions. However, Mom kept me on the left side and, while she let me sniff, she didn’t let me go overboard about it. The forest was full of the rich scent of the first leaves falling, rotten branches, acorns, moss, grass, weeds, flowers, and an assortment of other living creatures. Although the sun was shining, it wasn’t too hot, and those little white butterflies danced everywhere the sun shone. Soon I calmed down, and we settled into a leisurely pace; Mom letting me walk in the grass often so my pads wouldn’t get too hot. The leash dangled carelessly between us, forgotten in the rhythm of a peaceful walk between human and dog. A huge stag slipped from the bushes and gracefully crossed the path in front of us. We stopped stock-still to breathlessly watch it. Neither of us moved for a few minutes. Silently, it disappeared into the woods.
We walked until we reached the mile marker and I was panting a little. Mom turned us around, ever wary of the fact that it is warm and I am wearing a fur coat. Then we saw the stranger.
When we reached the turn, a man was walking in our direction. As we got closer to him, he looked at us and abruptly turned around and started walking slower. There was something about the way he was walking that made Mom and me suspicious. He was walking with a strange gait, as if he had something large and heavy in his front pants pocket. I was panting harder now, my back hair up, and Mom pulled me into the grass to wait until the man had gotten a little distance away from us, but she could see him. Then she slipped the little canister that she carries out of her pocket and put it in her hand. A couple of times, the man slowed down his pace, as if he wanted us to catch up with him. When this happened, Mom pulled me off to the grass to wait. Mom told me to “stay” because she did not want this man beside or behind us.
Finally, we left the wood path and headed out toward the clearing. A police officer was parked on the side of the parking lot and, it may be a coincidence, but the man crossed the street, away from us, and went into his own car. The police officer rolled down her window and told Mom how beautiful I was.
Mom took me back to Zeus, but first she made sure that the odd man had left the parking lot. I jumped into the back seat and collapsed. When we got home, Mom tried to get me to drink some water but all I wanted to do was splay out on the cold kitchen floor.
I think the walk was a huge success, all things considered, but Mom still feels a little funny about it. She says if we go back, we will walk in a different direction.
Stay safe. Woof. Love, Maggie