walk 27

saturday, 6:20am. 37°, windy.

unfamiliar surroundings are just not welcome sights.

we're at a (pet-friendly, obviously) hotel in cicero, and potty trips are full of wind and weird ambient noises, many of them arising from the wind whipping across the kayaks stacked outside the outdoors store just across the way.

rufus slept better than i did; the low rumble of the ice machine across the hall, the whine of pipes, and the sound of the air conditioner turning on every half hour to keep the room at a reasonable temperature kept me a little more on my toes than i would have liked.

we're here for the wedding of ben and allison. they're doing it here in the hotel; that's why we decided to get a room for the weekend. i am sure after celebrating these two awesome people, i will get my sleep on while rufus is excited that we're back in the room and so he won't sleep for the excitement.

who am i kidding? he's a dog, of course he'll sleep!

the reminder to be present

the beginning of this week brought some challenges; some opportunities for growth and the gift of renewed joy. wednesday's walk around the neighborhood started with me going through the physical motions but not really being mentally or visually present. we rounded a corner and i was surprised with the gift of laughter and joy. we were passing a neighbor's fenced yard and two chihuahuas barked as ferociously as they could at rufus and me. their barking and attempts to be big vicious dogs was adorable. i know there are some people who love chihuahuas (like my middle brother) and others (*cough* like josh) may think they bark too much for an animal of their size. these two big barkers made me laugh and smile- a gift much needed after two days of not being myself. i embraced the moment. i had rufus sit and we watched the little ones. i let myself laugh loudly and i enjoyed the laughter those dogs gave me. it was a perfectly timed reminder to be present.

today on our morning walk i was present. the air was chilly but the sunlight wonderful. rufus happily sniffed the grass. In his new stylish harness that we got after reading pet product reviews one afternoon, yes we are pet nerds. we rounded a corner and i was so present enjoying the scenery, that rufus and i were surprised by the sudden barking of a neighborhood black lab. the dog jumped on his fence and barked a slightly aggressive "notice me!" rufus and i were startled but i smiled and was grateful i was fully present. this weekend there will be a wonderful staycation. this morning rufus watched josh put his rawhide bones in a bag. he was so curious about why the bones were put in the bag, he kept sniffing the bag and general area of where he knows his treats are. there will be bubble baths, swimming, and wonderful time with my family...and i will be fully present for every moment.


walk 26

friday, 5:20am. 34°, mostly cloudy.

tail-wagging, it turns out, is a complicated enterprise.

you can file this under things you google when you hang out with your dog all day.

i started with this article that seems to be culled from other essays that cite animal psychologists, and it sounded good, but really says, "here is a list of reasons we think dogs wag their tails."

i'm buying into sarah's write-up, even if she uses a possessive in place of a plural (hell, i'm writing a blog entirely in lower case, who am i to judge?).

we're starting to notice things like:

  • when the ears go up, the tail points (a sign of alertness).
  • when we're chilling before bed (rufus typically will join the teeth-brushing party in the bathroom), he'll wag his tail to his right, a signal of friendliness when another animal approaches.
  • when we're on a walk in the dark, he wags primarily to his left, a sign of aggression; it shows he's nervous and ready to pounce.
  • when we get him out of his crate in the morning or after work, rufus wags aggressively in both directions; that's simple excitedness.

staycation this weekend. i love that we have dog-friendly hotels around. there will probably be a review here and/or over at the other place.

walk 25

thursday, 8:20am. 36°, drizzling.

day off.

rufus has jb and me today; it's pretty cool. a morning walk in the rain, some play time and a late breakfast.

an afternoon fetch in the yard and lounging in the living room with a movie on.

this is why rainy thursdays were invented.

walk 24

wednesday, 5:30am. 40°, clear.

i have a fairly lousy sense of smell. that's probably why i enjoy strong flavors: spicy foods, cinnamon, bone-dry wines.

it's so strange watching rufus sniff and sniff, going back to check that blade of grass or that mailbox post to double-check what sort of animal was last here, and how recently.

it's all just a new world to me.

walk 23

tuesday, 3:50am. 26°, clear.

if stars are threatening in the morning, the back yard – a haven during the afternoon and evening, bringing food on the grill, fetch with the pup and a rest in the hammock as the season progresses – is downright creepy before 4am.

even rufus felt it. the air was too still; the trucks weren't on the road yet, no other dogs were out walking; the birds were still asleep and so was the breeze.

all we had was stars and wood chips, and neither wanted to be our friend.

this is a 12-hour workday for me, and i'll still be home by rush hour. we'll call it an endurance exercise.

walk 22

monday, 5:25am. 29°, cloudy

where have all the flowers gone?

it's amazing how much more quickly walks go when it's cold out. even those few degrees makes everything speed up. yes, my steps, but rufus got his business done early in the walk, and didn't do a whole lot of sniffing the rest of the way.

it's mondaying heavily outside, too. the trees are groaning awake, and there were no houselights to be seen or cars starting to be heard.

our flowers are drooping after getting an early start; we knew better, but it's hard to tell them to go back to sleep for another couple of weeks once they get to sprouting, isn't it?

walk 21

sunday, 7am. 46°, misting.

this precipitation should be embarrassed to call itself rain.

but it still gets us wet.

and so we break from the unseasonable weather, we're reminded of march, of early spring.

but with it, greener grass, fragrant walks. flowers coming up.

i'll have to remember to learn some bird calls; there was something i had never heard before in a tree around the corner from home. it sounded like the whine humans let out when they're not ready to get out of bed yet.

it's looking like a busy sunday.

sunday, 12:15pm. 45°, cloudy.

max and samson are an awfully loud, rambunctious pair. we won't visit without their humans present, but we still get to watch them run and play in their electric-fenced yard.

we played with two other dogs last night. kermit is hyperactive and playful. sheldon is calm, but doesn't like sudden motion (like "i'm going to pet you now") or person-to-person touching (even hugs get a bark, as though a threat were present).

and so we remember again that we're lucky rufus found us. he'll play, he'll cuddle, he'll chill while we're doing laundry, he'll keep his nose out of the suitcase as we pack. and he almost never barks.

light & blades of grass

we turned the corner on our walk and we faced warm rays of sunlight. not the kind that hurts the eyes. we greeted this light. we returned home & i missed the beautiful rich sunshine. it told me to embrace the day, to invite nature into my soul.

we'd been home for twenty minutes; i was watching the morning news & rufus wanted to play or just do something. he was bored so we walked outside. his nose twitched absorbing various scents. i watched his head move every direction as though each new sound was meant solely for him. i smiled at his contagious joy of just listening.

today it rained... a few times. on our late morning walk rufus didn't seem too over excited about the smell of the grass or how the usual scents of the earth had been changed. on our most recent walk, however, his nose knew instantly that the ground smelled different. the usual ground smells were now magnified.  with each mailbox we passed, he would lurch forward in a slightly forceful manner to insist he investigate the area. the lush green patches amazed him. he examined and sniffed the blades of grass that were greener from the rainfall. i couldn't help but chuckle at his wonder and curiosity. i felt as though i was an investigator with my search dog, who was hot on the case.



walk 20

saturday, 7:10am. 55 °, raining.

i never thought i'd see a light rain on march 24 as a bit of relief from the heat, at least not as long as i live in central new york. it's nice waking up to the sound, and it wasn't stormy enough for rufus to be in a tizzy about it.

it's funny how the pup dislikes the rain except when he doesn't care about it.

he'll sniff close to the ground for minutes at a time, circling the same small spot. but should we stop in a spot where he's not interested in sniffing, he looks at us like, "jesus. don't you people know it's raining? let's get the hell out of here!"

and so it is, and so it shall be.