Walking the dog

In a few minutes I’m going to get up, put on some pants, slip on some socks and shoes, and call Pork Chop over to go for a walk.

Pork Chop will be sleeping in her nest. She makes herself a nest every night, lifting and pulling on her blankets until they form a perfect little circle around her. And if she’s cold, she can even cover herself with the blanket.

When she hears me call, she’ll pretend it’s not a big deal, raise her head, and get up out of bed reluctantly. Then she’ll do her morning yoga, always just dog pose, and with her front feet low and back legs high I can hear the bones popping and ligaments stretching.

With that work done, she’ll trot over to the front door. She has a prancing walk she does when she’s excited, both front feet straight, her body sways from one side to the other, her head bobs up and down as she walks.

And when she gets over to me I’ll be standing there with the harness and leash. I hang the harness low for her to put her own head in. This is the point where her excitement starts to build. She will yawn and let out a yawp – a high pitched sound that accompanies her yawns. A yawn in a dog can be nervousness but it can also mean excitement. For Porks, it’s excitement.

Usually, this is followed by a shiver. You know how sometimes you get an uncontrollable shiver? Just some bundle of electrons that has been trapped inside you and needs to find its way back into the universe and so it works its way back out through your central nervous system. Causing you to uncontrollably shake and wiggle to get it out. Pork Chop has dozens of these a day but always one after I snap the harness on.

From there, she goes into huntress mode. As soon as we step out the front door she’s looking for two things and two things only: squirrels and girls.

There’s usually a couple squirrels climbing the telephone pole across the street so she locks eyes on that pole first thing every morning. She’s never caught a squirrel – because I don’t let her – but she’s never given up hope that she might one day get to taste squirrel meat. Every once in a while I get caught looking at my phone and killer here gets a little jump on me and tries to climb a tree after one of these fluffy tailed rats but I’ve always managed to keep her from murdering one of them.

Pork Chop and I do a 2.5 mile walk every morning from my house, to the local park, and back. And besides the squirrels, the other thing she looks for is human interaction. Any kind will do, usually, but most specifically she loves women. When she sees a woman she loses control and wiggles, tucks her tail, ears go down, and she gets a crazed demeanor. Most people just say “aww cute” but if they ask to pet Pork Chop I say “you can, but she’s going to try to jump on you”. 99% of them don’t listen and she does in fact try to jump on them. It’s pretty frightening to have a fully grown Pit Bull terrier jump in your face and try to lick you. I’m probably supposed to be training her to not do this but I feel like if I warned you and you still decided to pet the dog, well, that’s on you.

Maybe this is a metaphor for something. My permissiveness? My recklessness? The American electorate voting for politicians who literally tell them that they are awful and yet they vote for them anyway? Nah, dogs are better than politicians. I should probably tell these dog lovers “I’d rather not, she gets so excited to see people that she might accidentally bite your face, and I know that we would all be filled with regret if she did that.”

I guess I will do that from now on. Or maybe have people sign a waiver: “I the undersigned do hereby waive all rights to not have my face licked, or slightly bitten, by this over-amorous dog”. Or, I guess, I can work on the thing where she tries to jump on people and lick their face. For now I’m still working on just walking without pulling too much. Did I mention the squirrels?



  1. Lovely Tim. I can relate to the warnings about the dog. My standard phrase about Roscoe is: If you’re nice to him, he’ll lick you. If you’re really nice he’ll jump on you.

    The walking routine is really something to cherish. Thanks for this happy meditation today.

  2. Beautiful! My standard warning for Lily is that she’s a facelicker, and she will try! Got to let our puppies have their small joys; afterall, we’ve got our Arsenal, while all they see is their human expressing distressingly high emotions.

  3. I often describe Gumby as a goofball (he’s half-Maltese, half-Jack Russell, and just the funnest mix of both breeds in terms of personality), and luckily hasn’t got a single aggressive bone in his body (tries to be friends with all the living things, even cats). He will, however, try to befriend ALL the strangers, and mostly just rubs his belly against them. Haven’t taken him on any really long walks or runs lately, though, so this has inspired me to take him for a run in the dog pit this weekend. <3

      1. Nice piece Tim, I’m a dog lover and so is the rest of my family. We’ve grown up to see generations of dogs that stems from a pair our grandfather bred since he was young. Dogs are a reflection of who we are, during free time you’ll catch me watching dog documentaries from YouTube. Great post once again Tim. Truly captivating

  4. So well written! Apparently factual but conveying a lot of tenderness for the dog. Plus the usual helping of humour. Thx!!!

  5. Bruno is a rescue and we had got him from the streets when he was about 4 months old. He’d seen a lot on the streets, possibly bullied by bigger ones, maybe bitten too. He generally doesn’t get too close to strangers, so any of the kids in the community who wanna run to him “oh so cute”, his first and constant reaction is to try and run away from them. Also run away from a leaf or a twig that moved all of a sudden.

    Our morning ritual has been there for all of the 5 1/2 years he has been with us. He wants to sniff every bit of grass, bush, etc, mark his territory, and all the dog stuff. He is friends with a few streeties, and the tail wagging is insane if he sees them or they spot him.

    Now Bruno isn’t scared of everything. He has his favorites in the family and some of my friends. I think his favorite in order of priority are Cheese, Paneer, rest of food items, my wife, mom, me and then a few others. But when he feels sick or scared, I am the one he comes to.

    He is one of the best things to have happened in my life, and i can never ever be grateful enough. Dogs are so pure, full of love and affection.


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