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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Nighttime walks

Often the best part of my day is the walk I take with Gregg and the dogs in the evening. Since moving into this house 6 years ago, by our own estimation we've walked the route around our neighborhood well over a thousand times. And we almost always go after dark, sometimes quite late. In the summer it's cooler then, and all year long it's when we're most likely to be at home together.

The dogs are always, always joyful when they see us get the leashes. Without a doubt it's the very best part of their day. They dance around, George jumps straight up in the air four or five times, Ginger grins (yes, dogs smile, and we're convinced Ginger even has a sense of humor. Call me crazy if you like) and there's a few minutes of general merriment between us all before we hook up the harnesses and leashes. Ginger, in deference to her age and position in our family, always gets to exit the garage first.

Then we're off. Gregg and I have our time to talk, and meanwhile the dogs trot along, side by side, occasionally veering off together to sniff something interesting or pee. We don't mind the occasional interruption, especially at certain beloved spots, because we figure the walk is as much theirs as ours. It's our family time at the end of the day.

There's a gray and white cat that waits for us once in a while in the church parking lot down the road. She's a sweet, slightly built little cat that we've been friends with for years now. Before we got George, she would meow and trot up to us, sniff noses with Ginger, rub against us all for petting, and then walk with us for a block or so. Then came George, the problem child, who would bark and growl at cats and other small animals and get way too excited for my peace of mind.  These days I've very nearly broken him of it with the help of the wise little cat.  She keeps a prudent distance from George, but displays no fear of him and still joins us sometimes for a portion of the walk. It's been so good for him. And it's always a special treat when she shows up.

Sometimes we get to see something special while walking. Last night was one example. While walking northward and facing an area of clear, dark sky, we saw the most beautiful shooting star. It was a pale bluish-green, large, and slow, and seemed to be falling straight down like a tendril of flame from a firework. How lucky! I immediately made a silent (and heartfelt) wish. Gregg told me afterwards that he did, too. I'm so glad we were both looking up at the right time! I hope both our wishes come true.

There are two neighbor men we pass on our nightly walk sometimes that we've never seen in the daylight. Nor do we know what house they live in. They're both...50ish?...60ish?...somewhere in there, and I think they must be a couple. They walk at night regularly, just like us. If it's a quiet night we might hear the murmering sound of their voices before we actually see them. The dogs barely look up. We all pass each other with a few quiet words of greeting, "How are you" or "Hello"...or, rarely, a "Have a good evening". We walk at different times (sometimes quite late) and so do they, so our paths only cross once or twice a week.

We have this thing we do with Ginger when we arrive back at home. I keep the remote to our garage doors in my pocket when we walk (we mainly enter and exit the house through the garage). When we get close to our house Gregg unhooks her leash and we let her trot ahead of the rest of us, towards the garage door. When she's almost there, I push the button on the remote in my pocket, and the door starts to lift. Oh, how we hope Ginger thinks she's doing it with the power of her mind! She never breaks stride as the door goes up, she prances up to and right through like a queen. We always say "Thanks, Ginger!" as we follow her through. Once we're inside, she turns around and grins at us. And then both dogs wait for their chicken jerky treats to cap off the walk.


23 comments:

  1. What a cute end for your walks, with Ginger thinking she opens the garage door with the power of her mind.

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    1. She may just be humoring us. We're constantly surprised at how smart she is!

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  2. I've much enjoyed your description of your late evening walks. The dogs, the neighbors, the cat, the star, seem to turn these walks into some kind of night adventure.

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    1. Thank you for the comment, and for stopping by! :)

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  3. Tearing up as I read this. I too have special little rites that I do with the dogs that they always look forward to. I adore the Ginger garage door opener. So darling !
    I hope you're falling star wishes come true.
    And yes dogs smile and have a sense of humor.
    I know my Scotties smile. Plus Scotties are known for their smiles and they do it all the time. I just love it. We had a Jabba cat who would go on walks with us. But he stopped at a certain point and would wait till we came back and would walk with us home.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Scotties are great dogs! I would love to have one someday, but we have so many desperately poor, high-kill shelters in this area that I'll probably never feel comfortable adopting a breed dog. George came from one such shelter, and was due to be euthanized the week we adopted him. Ginger showed up as an older puppy on our back porch when we lived in the country; someone probably drove past and dumped her. That's a common practice in rural areas for getting rid of unwanted dogs. :( But she's turned out to be the best dog ever, so their loss!

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  4. It is very nice that the cat tries to join your walks. I think I could only do it here when the moon is nearly full, otherwise I would stumble in the darkness. Being dogless for the first time in many years also gives me less reason to go out for walks. :(

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    1. We live in a well lit neighborhood in the middle of a city. It's not very dark with all the streetlights! I'm sorry to hear that you're dogless...maybe when the time is right you'll adopt a new friend?

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  5. That's really nice that Ginger thinks she has magical door-opening powers (or at least you hope she does). I'm sure she does. Our dog definitely smiles, and of course it makes us smile too.

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    1. Ginger and George both smile and dance around when we get home from work, and it's a wonderful feeling after a long day. I love those two so much!

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  6. Thanks for letting us join you on your walk. Can I hold the leash next time?

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    1. You can hold Ginger's! She walks like a dream on a leash. George is much improved, but still gets excited and jerks his sometimes. And when an 85 pound dog does that, you feel it! Haha.

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  7. This was a lovely post, Jennifer, and made an excellent morning read to accompany my bowl of muesli. Thank you!

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  8. Very well-written Jennifer. A pleasure to read.

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  9. I enjoyed reading this; I could picture every detail you so very well describe. A lovely post Jennifer!
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. I'm always so happy when you stop by and comment, Maria! You are always so sweet.

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  10. I liked the walk, and the cat bit especially.

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  11. You would love this little cat. She's something special.

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  12. Ginger is a Kelpie?

    Whatever she is, she's lovely but then I never met a dog I didnt like.

    Your writing is evocative. Good job

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    1. Thank you, Kylie. We don't know what Ginger is, but I see that she does look like a Kelpie. I've always wanted to have one of those DNA blood tests done on her to see what breeds are in her mix. Whatever she is, she's a great dog.

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