Friday, April 25, 2014

The Dog Hour


Good Morning, Everyone!

The hour between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. is referred to around here as the dog hour.  (Curiously, there's a cat in my lap as I write this.  Editing, probably.)  It's an hour later in the winter because of early-morning darkness, though I've seen hearty souls on their way with flashlights, but with Spring in full swing, and a light sky by shortly after 6:00, Cheyenne and I are up and doing by 6:15.  And so is the entire neighborhood.

It's fascinating how on-schedule we all are.  Our first contact with friends is half a block away at the top of our street when we meet Jane, who works for a physical therapist, and Gracie, who is a little white rag-mop of a mixed breed.  Cheyenne loves Gracie, but gets little more than tolerance in return while Jane and I, both married to artists, exchange news on the latest show or sketching-group meeting.

Half a block west, we meet Will and Astra.  Will is a student who always looks sleepy - probably studies hard - and Astra is about 40 pounds of Brindle-colored, stand-up-eared, Heinz 57 dog.  Cheyenne drags me the last few yards towards them and Astra is usually standing on her hind-feet, waiting for her.  They nuzzle, wriggle, pounce and play while Will smiles and says a sleepy good-morning.

On the next corner we run into Alyssa and Katie.  Alyssa is Will's opposite, sounds like she's been up for hours, and is beautifully made up.  I'd guess she's in her middle thirties.  She does horse massage and is filled with good will and good cheer - just the things you'd love to have stroked into your riding companion.  Katie is a sleek-coated rescue dog who wags and sniffs with Cheyenne.

It's been our pattern for the three years since Cheyenne moved in with us to go east  several blocks past the playground, or west, past the elegant old homes built in the 19th Century.  Suddenly - maybe because the weather's been generally nicer, Cheyenne looks back at me when we return from one direction with the clear question - "Can we go the other way, too?  Please?  Huh?"  So, we do.

They don't like us so much in that direction, but fortunately they're behind a fence.  The Brewers have two Giant Schnauzers and one standard, who bark from the minute they spot us coming until we're out of sight.   I imagine several residents of that block still in bed, putting pillows over their heads, or giving up and getting up earlier than they'd planned.

A block and a half beyond Brewers we meet Adam, a young man who bristles with energy and ideas and has a design business at home.  He's planning a sailing expedition with friends to the San Juans in July and, when we meet, is heading down to the bakery for coffee.  He was always alone until last week when he had a little Pit-Bull mix puppy, Winston,  on a leash.  Adam is providing day-care for the pup for a female friend with whom he's trying to make points.  I encourage him.  He'd be a great catch.  Winston jumps up on Cheyenne, she bumps him with her nose, and they sniff and nuzzle.

On our way back toward home, we encounter a young couple with two giant white Pyrenees who would like to see Cheyenne removed from the face of the earth.  Contrarily, she would like to make friends. Sometimes, it's hard to tell how much of that barking is bluster, but since there are two of them, I never let her get close enough to find out.  But we almost always meet them at a corner, and when I've crossed the street, thinking ahead to avoid that, they've done the same thing and we meet anyway.  Another bark-fest that's soon over.

On our corner, Steve, our good friend, is walking Hunter, a Basset with the oddest voice and a long tail with three inches of bright white at the tip that you can see, even in the dark.  Hunter and Cheyenne are a little like Sofia Loren and Carlo Ponti (if any of you is old enough to remember that life-long love.)  Cheyenne is three times his size and bangs him on the head with her paw, but he loves it and comes back for more.  Steve, a teacher, can't linger, so we have to drag them apart and go our separate ways, telling each other to have a great day.

Cheyenne seems as happy and invigorated to have met her friends as I am to have met mine.  Our two cats waiting for us on the porch come running up to meet her, I unhook her leash and they run home together. Our day is off to a good start.


23 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Tara - I've answered this comment twice, and either I forget to hit publish, or something wonky is going on. I do have a busy morning, but it gets the aches and pains sorted out and helps me research pet characters for my books.

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    2. Okay, there it is. Apparently the only thing wonky is me!

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  2. I feel like we just went for a walk. Thanks--I enjoyed it!

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    1. You're welcome. Probably burned calories, too!

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  3. What a beautiful way to start the day!! Makes me want to move to your neighborhood :).

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    1. There's an abandoned mansion right next door!

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  4. I want to move to your neighborhood too, but we don't have a dog. We talk about getting a dog...

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    1. They're such a joy, but I'm sure you'd end up doing everything and your life probably doesn't need one more detail.

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  5. Rituals like that, while not set in stone, go a long way in making me feel as though the day is off to a good start. I loved hearing how you began your day. Mine is cutting up freshly cooked chicken and cooked rice for my dogs who need a special diet, giving them their pills, making Danielle's lunch for school, getting Greg and Danielle breakfast and then taking my vitamins which give me so much energy- though after that, I'm pooped! lol

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    1. I'm grateful that all I have to do is pour kibbles into a bowl with the occasional left-over meat treat. No more lunches to make, either. Ron loves bacon and eggs for breakfast and would eat that every day if he could, but I alternate it with cereal. He insists that at 81, he should be able to eat whatever he wants, but if I'm trying to help him make it to 100, he has to cooperate!

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  6. I start my day with an early walk on which I see a lot of people walking dogs. I no longer have a dog, so mine is a solitary walk. I do greet the dog walkers, but I don't know any of their names. I'd love to see the Great Pyrenees. There was a couple who lived in Prescott who owned two. We used to walk Thumb Butte and they often had the dogs out on the first leg of that ambitious hike. Beautiful dogs. When you finish the book with the military hero, I think you need to write Adam's story and give him the lady who has him walking her dog. LOL

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    1. Excellent thought, Roz! He's such a sweetie - he does deserve a book.

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  7. Muriel, what a wonderful post! I saw the the whole thing playing out like a mini-movie in my head. It makes me wish we lived in a neighborhood instead of the country. My wiener dog/alarm clock gets me up every morning with a contrived urgency to use the 'facilities'--we all know what he really wants is his treat after he comes back in the house. I love Roz's idea about writing Adam's story!!

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    1. Thanks, Carol. I live in the most beautiful place filled with the most fun and interesting people - and pets. I am going to go with Roz's idea! My husband grew up in the country, but I was raised in the heart of a city and love that there's always someone walking by, working in the garden, sweeping the porch. I'm a serious people-person.

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  8. My mixed breed, Sparky, obviously never heard the rule "follow your master, not your nose." He's a darter - here, there, sniff and move on with me running behind. But I figure this is his time, so I let him determine our path. Plus I haven't the faintest idea how to discipline him!
    Cynthia

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  9. Hi, Cynthia! I agree with you that the walk is their time and you should let them pick the path. At my age, I could never deal with a Lab puppy, so we always ask the Shelter for sedentary or geriatric dogs. Otherwise, once headed downhill, I'd be across the Columbia River and in Washington before I could stop us! Discipline's probably not as important as love anyway. Maybe eventually he'll do what you want because he loves and respects you, not because he fears your discipline.

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  10. Oh Muriel, you created the loveliest picture with your words. Makes me want to leash up my rambunctious pup and walk with you and your group every morning!

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    1. Hi! A small run from Chicago, but I'll bet you could do it. What kind of pup?

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    2. She's a rescue. Probably a little bit of everything. She's black and white like a border collie but looks more like a lab. She's high energy for sure. She'd make it to you but I'm a different story!!

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  11. Muriel, what an interesting morning walk you have. Mine with my wirehaired fox terrier is at a harbor where we meet few other dogs but look at a lot of boats and the ferry going by.

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    1. That sounds interesting, too. What a lovely setting that must be. I grew up with a toy Fox Terrier. Feisty little dickens.

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  12. Muriel, what an interesting morning walk you have. Mine with my wirehaired fox terrier is at a harbor where we meet few other dogs but look at a lot of boats and the ferry going by.

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