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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Conversations with Arrow

So Arrow and I go for a walk every day. It’s good for both of us—reduces both of our broad mid-drifts and gives us both some fresh air. For my part, there is lots of deep breathing.  And not just because I’m walking fast either.

It’s because the alternative involves shouting at the dog and I don’t want to do that.

No. That’s not true. I do. But it won’t help.

Well, that’s not true either.

It will help me.

But it won’t help Arrow.  

So instead I have conversations with him in which I get to be the reasonable human being who wants one thing and one thing only: To walk side by side with my dog. Quiet companions who are contented to enjoy the dance of sun and shadows on a lonely stretch of road, listen to the skitters in the surrounding woods,  and watch  the occasional turtle easing its way across the road one silent, unhurried step after another.

What I get instead is to be the helium balloon bouncing along at the other end of the lead while Arrow half-jogs, nose to the ground, tail wagging madly as he—in his mind—pursues whatever creature who was foolish enough to leave a trail. This is when the conversation takes place.  

I throw on the brakes. “Arrow? Where are you supposed to be?”

Pauses. Glances around. Glances back at the empty spot beside me. “Uhhh. There.”

“Okay. Then WHY aren't you there?”

“Because here is rabbits. And squirrels. And---“sniffs air—“Rottweiler.”

“You can smell them from here too.”

“Yes. Can. From here.”

I remind myself that I’m talking to a simplistic creature and point to the space he’s supposed to be filling. “I mean there.”

“No. Can’t.”

“Why not?”

Pauses. Seems to weigh the consequences of honesty. Shrugs (yes. Dogs do so shrug). “You talk too much.”

“I do not! And I wouldn’t talk at all if you’d just walk beside me. And what’s that all got to do with smelling anyway?”

“Can’t listen and smell. Too much.”

“So don’t smell. You can do that later.”

“Smelling better. Is rabbits. And squirrels. And (sniffs the air) Rottweiler.”

“You know, I don’t ask much out of you. Just a simple, peaceful walk with my friend.”

“I like walks.”

“I know you do.”

“You good friend.”

Moved beyond words for a second, I finally manage a “Thanks Arrow.”

“Yes. Walk more now? Friend?’

“Sure, buddy. Just walk at my side for a while, okay?”

“Kay. Quiet though.”

“Deal.”

And we go a couple of dozen steps more and—once again—he has wandered ahead of me and is beginning to pull. His head is down, his tail is wagging. And I am once again the thing at the other end of the lead full of hot air.

“ARROW!”

Looks back at me, surprised and, if I’m not mistaken, mildly annoyed. “Yes?’

I’m out of civil words. I point to the lead and to the empty space at my side. He follows my gestures. 

Frowns. Puzzled. “What?”

“You’re doing it again.”

His look of puzzlement clears. “Oh! Here. Not there.”

“Right!”

“Is better here.”

“It’s not better there.”


“Right. Is better here.”

“I mean. It’s better there—I point at the spot at my side—than where you are.”

“No. Better here. Rabbit here. And squirrel.” Sniffs air. “And—

“I know. I know! Rottweiler.”

“No, Deer.” 

“Fine. Please Arrow. Walk here—I mean—there.”

“Only if you stop talking.”

“I wasn’t talking.”

“You talking right now.”

“That’s because you’re not—here.”

“Am here. Right here.”

“This is here too, damn it!”

Arrows ears perk, he tilts his head, and looks genuinely surprised. “That is here too?” It’s like I’ve just shown him a magic trick.

“Right.”

“I like here. I will walk here.” And he quietly returns to my side.

“Thank you.”

“Here is good. Can smell rabbits here.”

“And squirrels?”


“Shshsh. No talking.”

6 comments:

Scotty said...

Lol, a fun read, except for one incorrect word choice... :-)

Debby said...

Both of you being reasonable creatures, I am sure that you will come to some sort of compromise, which will involve a combination of here and there.

Hal Johnson said...

I laughed big time at this. It's really funny when it happens to someone else.

Geoff White said...

Nice, mary. You have a wonderful imagination.
and if I am in tune with Scotty, I agree re: word choice, Scotty, was it simplistic vs. simple? - had to find at least one nit. heh.

Shirley | Bite Me said...

Love, love, love this. I have conversations with my labbie, all the time. He can smell rabbits, too :)

Mary Paddock said...

Thanks Shirley! Good to hear from you.