January 10, 2016 by The Dog Rules
This morning I awakened before dawn. Not really difficult to do at this time of the year when you live at Latitude 49°14′58″ N. I wasn’t really inclined to go back to sleep even though it was pitch dark. After 15-ish years of continuous dog walking it is easy for me to be up, awake and walking before dawn. I still step carefully out of bed so that I don’t tread on my sleeping ghost dog. It’s a long-standing habit that I haven’t broken in the slightly more than two months since she passed on. I’m not even certain that this is a habit I want to break.
I love the silent mornings before the rest of the world is up. I love the freshness of the new day about to dawn before the scent of traffic pollution confusees my nose. I love the silent foot pads of the local bobcat as he makes his stealthy migration through the sleeping neighborhood on his way to forage for breakfast. Then there are the sudden encounters with the local coyotes as they head to their dens after a nights hunting. They still freeze in place when/if they notice me. Now I am the lone dog. My little pack member is only a ghost beside me and they do not fear ghosts.
In our day we encountered many coyotes. At first, when Dog was a tiny pup, the coyotes would come far too close. She was a babe and completely vulnerable to their attack – except for the “big dog” she walked with. Sometimes they came so close that I had to pick her up to ensure her safety. They hoped they could distract me long enough to snatch my puppy.
Dog grew and learned that the coyotes were a danger. Her superior nose would detect them long before I could. I learned to watch her body language and could tell whether she was scenting coyotes, the bobcat or the bear that occasionally traversed the same trails we did. I needed only to follow a straight line from her nose pointed toward the bush to identify the invisible location of the intruder to our peaceful walks. If they were very close she would issue a single low-pitched “whuff” to alert me. Together we were aware of and safe from “them”.
This morning I realized that I needed to walk. Dear Dog has been sleeping in my heart and this morning she, and the others who share my heart, woke and wagged their tails. Wap wap wap wap wap! It’s time to walk!! They so love their walks! So we went.
So you can understand this more easily, I offer this link. Please don’t blame me if it brings tears to your eyes.