*they say “barked at”; i say “defended them from.” we apparently have to agree to disagree. (i’m right).
I SAVED THEM!
About a year ago, I started running. Voluntarily, with nothing chasing me. I bought good sneakers that fit my orthotics (my knees have history) and a Wind Breaker and a little belt in which to keep my phone for music. I used the Couch To 5K app to help me get started. If you were around my neighborhood, you’d see me jogging and walking and jogging and walking and huffing and puffing three days a week. I did it for exercise and to help prepare for a musical I was in last summer.
(To be clear, I tried to take Zozo with me. He wasn’t having it. It could be I was too slow or he was too interested in pooping when there were no cans around. Either way, opportunity lost.)
I hate running. I struggle with it, but I keep at it. I like the fresh air. I like reporting back on homes for sale or new lawn decorations. But mostly, I like that I get a chance to see neighborhood dogs.
Bradley is a handsome Sheltie who trots his dad along. When he sees you, no matter how far off, he sits and waits. His dad waits, too. You may not pass Bradley without petting him, for he will follow you until you pet him. Sometimes coming and going, I get some Bradley love. Bradley’s dad gets a lot of interrupted walks.
Ariel is a German Shepherd with the largest ears I’ve ever seen. She moved into a house as a puppy, and it’s been amazing to watch her grow into her feet. Her eyes are amber. When her dad walks her to the local middle school to collect her human siblings, she’s off-leash, focused and disinterested in sharing the sidewalk. Disciplined. So disciplined.
There’s a dog– sometimes two– that live in a house one street over. I refer to this dog as Evil Dog. I think his name is Storm. I’m not sure. He’s a fence charger and a jail-breaker. From out of no where, he’ll come charging the fence, barking at passers-by, not at all phased by the beeping of the electric fence collar his owners have on him for extra restraint. Maybe I’m being unkind– I suspect he’s lonely, bored, or poorly socialized– but he scares me to death every. damn. run. (One time he hopped the fence and walked to Home Depot. He was found in the plumbing section.)
A Burmese Mountain Dog broke away from his tweenage companion and knocked me over, stood on my legs and licked my hair. The crackle of a changing voice screaming “MOM”, “HELP” and “HE’S JUST A PUPPY” was heartbreaking. When I realized I wasn’t being mauled to death, we all calmed down and had a giggle. And then I cried the rest of the way home. Run cut short. (They have a fence now.)
The long-haired Chihuahua. This little thing, wearing a bedazzled orange harness, came running yap-yap-yap out of an open garage and chased me down the street. When I turned back to him, he put his tush down and hushed. I walked towards him and he backed up, turned around and started towards home. I resumed my run and he resumed his. I picked up my pace and flipped a corner. I have no idea where he went, but I hope it was home, along the sidewalk.
There’s a beagle who guards a neighbor’s chicken coop and generally hangs out in the middle of the street. He’s a weirdo. People just drive around him, or get out of their cars to shoo him home.
There’s an older Korean gentleman who walks his cat. I want to make friends with him.
get out moJanuary 1, 2017
I was asleep before midnight, which is okay because that meant my last pit stop happened before the fireworks started. No #ZOverreacting! A-plus for me!!
Here is what I will work on this year:
What are you going to do in 2017?
It’s. So. Hot.
Summertime in the suburbs of DC always swelters. Humidity. Tourists. So much gross.
To keep cool this year, we’re relying on our old stand-bys:
Frozen Nibbles: Zozo will do anything for frozen green beans and/or banana slices. We put them on top of his dried food or use them as treats after short trips outside. He’ll wait (im)patiently for them when we come inside.
When he was younger, we could sate him with ice cubes. As he’s aged, he’s less interested in them. But frozen treats seem to do the trick.
Basement dwelling: it’s like we have an adolescent human boy. He lurks in the dark corners of the basement, drawn out only by promises of food. It’s cool. It’s dark. Quiet. There’s video games and instruments. He loves it. And he’s reluctant to come up or share the couch. Or he’s under it.
Close crops: like it or not, we cut off all of his fur for the summer. His shaggy, flat black coat is unbearable in the sunshine and heat. He’s groomed closed to his skin– so close that you can see how white his belly is. And it makes me laugh when he’s sleek and skin-y.
Water sports: Zozo loves to swim. Loves it. He like to splash and paddle and chase balls. We don’t have a pool at our disposal, so we often take him to Old Towne Pet Resort for a dip and a bath.
Tell us! How do you stay cool when it’s hot outside? What are some things we should try?
April 22, 2016
I’m a planner. We’ve discussed this. I’m happiest when I get to organize, when there’s a to-do list, and when I can track my accomplishments. I get frustrated and disappointed when my hard work is undone by things that are outside of my control. But I’m also the person you want on your side in a crisis. Change is good. I’m flexible. Two opposite people living in my little virgo body. The struggle is real.
We like to take trips with the dogs. The Outer Banks, Asheville, Woodstock (which I neglected to blog about but I’ll get back to)… this year is no different. For our very first “just us three” trip, Zo, James and I set our sights on Charlottesville, VA. We heard it was a great place to hang out: funky, historic, walkable, pet-friendly. I rented a house. I made reservations for dinners. We made “excursion” plans. And then we changed them on the fly.
See, on our way to Charlottesville, we planned to take a slight detour along Skyline Drive and take Zo for a hike. Our travel plans coincided with the commencement of year-long activities celebrating the Centennial of the National Park Service. We were excited to hike newly refurbished, blazed trails; to shake off the city and work and stress and enjoy the fresh, clean air.
In the days leading up to our trip, the news began reporting of a wildfire along Skyline. We tracked the fire and changed our route. Every day in the week leading up to the trip, we tracked and changed and tracked and changed. Thousands of acres of forest were destroyed. Skyline closed. Our big “WE’RE ON VACATION” moment came to a halt.
So I stressed and planned. The morning of our departure, I nooked into the corner of the couch, laptop perched on my knees, looking for solid hikes do-able with a dog. I hounded James with links and maps and “what abouts.” He told me to calm down. I scowled a lot. Zozo slept. And then I found it: Humpback Rocks in Crozet, VA. 45 minutes from Charlottesville along the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We packed the car, strapped the pup in, and hit the road. I felt better.
And then the rain started. It rained fairly steadily the entire drive. When it wasn’t raining, it was misting. But I was going to hike, dammit. And so, we did.
Because of the rain, the trail was ours. The site reads it’s a little over two miles and strenuous. You climb 1,240 feet. I don’t know what we expected. No, that’s a lie, I do. We expected strenuous to mean this:
And it was that. And more… much more.
The three of us are stubborn. James delightfully (for me) goes along with my terrible ideas. Zozo is part goat, scampering and hopping along like a fearless puppy (he’s 9). The rain wouldn’t stop us. And the final view… totally, absolutely worth the stress.
Covered in mud and more damp than dry, we made our way back down the mountain. Someone fell on their tush (hint, it wasn’t me). We piled back in and made the drive to Charlottesville. More on that later.
Idea courtesy of The Daily Prompt.