Thursday, March 09, 2006

Sidewalk Fauna

It's not time to dust off my bicycle seat. The smell of spring is not yet in the air. But Michigan cabin fever combined with 40 degree temperatures took me out of the house on Sunday. Time for a neighborhood walk.

Of course, the dog walkers are always out regardless of the season. Large bubbly labradors that appear to laugh as they bounce around. Snooty ankle-high terriers who must give you the sniff test before letting you pass.

Most owners will pull their dogs off the sidewalk, giving dogless walkers like myself a wide berth. One lady pulled her muscular mutt a good ten yards off the concrete. I soon learned why. Her king-sized pooch pulled so hard at the leash that she toppled over. Then he dragged her across the ground, straining to get closer to me.

Pet buying advice: Never buy a dog that will in his lifetime be able to drag you face down through the dirt.

Then there was the gentleman walking a young, innocent-looking setter breed. When I approached on the walk, he pulled his dog off to the side, set him down, and literally held the dog's face in both hands so he couldn't see me pass. All the while, the man spoke softly and re-assuringly to his pet.

Was that for the dog's benefit or mine, I wondered? I had this terrible impish urge to leap off the ground, land both feet hard next to his dog and go, "Boo!!!" Don't know why.

The funniest dog I passed was this miniature bulldog who pulled on his leash so that he walked at a 45 degree slant, as if fighting a fierce sideways gale. All this so he could face me dead-on in the walk. When he approached, his breath sounds almost made it sound like he was talking smack.

"Let me have a piece of this guy. He better get out of my way. C'mon, turn me loose. He ain't so tough."

Ironically, at least to me, the owner gave his bulldog just enough latitude on the leash so he could nuzzle my leg as I passed. And as the pair disappeared behind me, I could hear the bulldog still talking smack, his legs scurrying on the cement to try to tackle me from behind.

Speaking of pint-sized upstarts, I passed a squirrel chattering in a nearby tree. "Snuk, snuk, snuk, snuk." Taunting me, I thought. Squirrels seem to know they can get away with this once the packing snow has melted. Otherwise, I could have belted him one.

I can see the lure of exotic pets now. Maybe a mountain lion. I'd walk him around the neighborhood. That bulldog? SWAT! Sailing between the uprights. Three points. That squirrel? "There's lunch girl. Go up that tree and get 'em."


Anonymous bonnie said...

We actually do have mountain lions in my neighborhood! Bears, bobcats, and lynx, too! Fortunately, no wolverines!

7:22 AM  
Blogger bornfool said...

lol. I can envision the bulldog saying those things with its noisy, sloppy breathing, too. I think I've watched too many cartoons.

8:07 AM  
Blogger poopie said...

Love your description of true!

8:14 AM  
Anonymous kristy said...

You're lucky you got to get out. We actually had snow overnight. I'm in deep, deep mourning (okay, it was just a dusting, but for Seattle, that's a state-of-emergency).

8:49 AM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Ah, gee, Dave, not a mountain lion for Pete's sake. A cougar will be plenty.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Well, down here in Houston, the trees are dudding and turing green. They tell us that spring has arrived. My daughters car has a yellow coating over it's bright red color. The pollen is in full swing and anyone with allergies is sneezing and coughing. It got into the low 80's yeaterday so I would say winter is gone. It's definately safe to plant the tomato plants.

Glad you had a nice walk. What time of day did you go? We walk our dogs when it gets dark, that way we don't have so many people out. They are pretty good though when they come upon other walkers.

5:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

Somehow, The Missus always gets stuck walking the dog the kids promised to take care of.

As for the cats, well, they walk themselves. Beautiful.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Maria said...

I walk a Yorkie and a Doxie and try to avoid all dogs because my Yorkie has a dreadful "Napolean Complex" and screams out offers to fight with all large dogs and the Doxie is (I am certain from the sound of it) an expert in Deutche profanities. At least that is what it sounds like as she barks at all newcomers.

Enjoyed your post.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my dog is fine approaching other people but goes crazy approaching other dogs. He barks and crys and tugs hard to get a sniff of another dog. He is friendly when he meets them but i'm sure it scares the other dog owners.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:08 AM  

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