Sunday, February 26, 2017

Walking My Dog

The other day, Friday, was balmy and breezy.  We've had unseasonably warm weather in North Georgia and I for one am tired of it and would like some snow.  But my husband was replacing the cover on our boat (which is more like an anchor because it's out of commission). The old cover had become torn due to weather and age. 

It turned out to be a bigger deal than we had expected, because a cat had taken up residence in the boat.  For how long, I don't know, but it was in the hull and not interested in coming out.  Because the old cover was torn, the cat probably had crawled up in there in a storm. 

I have to stop here and say (and I deal with this in another post today) that we have recently become a haven for cats.  I have counted at least eight in my yard when I drive in at times.  Black, tabby, and mostly greyish ones.  They are not feral; they belong to someone who feeds them (most of the time) but they love our yard, which makes no sense because we have a dog. Of course, she is tied up and only able to reach so far, and they know to stay out of her area.  The cats like to walk on my car, hide up in the wheel wells of my husband's old (covered and inoperable Chevelles), and hunt for rodents in the small area of woods between our subdivision and the next. 

I do not like cats.  Plural.  I am ok with one, will hold it, let it around me.  But multiple, and the idea of cats, no.

So, to flush this cat out we let the dog into the boat.  She confirmed our suspicion that there really was a cat hiding in it, but she and the cat got into a stare down and the cat wasn't budging.  We put some milk out for it;  then we upped the anty and put out some tuna.  We were about to give up (although Nala the dog was not; she was very upset about the cat being in there and we had to remove her) when a little head poked out, enticed I am sure by the tuna.  She let me pick her up--no scratching--and we freed her from our boat.

All that to say that I guess my dog has a purpose.  Maybe.  But she is a commitment.

As I've written before, she is a 50-some pound pit or pitmix.  She is all muscle.  She needs to be walked every day and if I don't, I pay the price the next day in her over interest in every possible smell and animal, her rambunctiousness, and her insistence on going directions I don't care to follow.  We have a nonverbal discussion.

"Let's go this way."
"Let's go this way."
Let's go this way."

On the third time she gets a yank or even a strong nudge with my foot in the backside; not a kick but it gets her attention.   She can hold up my weight, by the way, when she's on point, and I am not a small woman. 

Having a dog like this means you have to walk her or let her run, and I don't trust her enough to run (neither do I expect my neighbors or others to tolerate a dog like her running maniacally through their yards and into the streets).  Whereas I used to, pre-dog, be able to walk at the mall or on a treadmill, the commitment of a dog to me means primarily a 40-minute walk in sometimes unwelcoming weather almost every day of my life.  There is also the "We can't leave her for long periods of time" and "what are we going to do with Nala on this trip" and the "clean up her poop in the yard and wherever else" (I call her Princess Poopsalot) and the expense and because she is so strong the occasional bruises (I have photos to prove it).  But the walking is the daily reminder of the anchor that is a dog.

Cats don't need walking, and they can hide in boats for indeterminate times without food.  Hummmm.

I have to make a larger point here; it is my nature.  The necessity to walk her is not a burden because I have been walking 40 or so minutes a day for decades.  A doctor told me to when I was in my 20s and it was the best health advice ever.  I should have diabetes and don't.  I don't have bad knees like so many people my age.  It allows me to write novels in my head, listen to podcasts, pray, work out difficult conversations, and get over anger (of which I have more than enough). 

When I read the New Testament I see a Jesus who walked, and to be honest, this is one of the reasons I love him.  How many miles did Jesus walk in his ministry?  He did not sit under trees for people to come to him.  He did not wage wars. He walked to where people were to heal and feed and meet human need and talk about God's love. Yes, and other things, I'm not whitewashing Jesus, but he was walking and asks us to walk; life is a walk.  

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