The other day (true story) I left the house for a walk. It was a gorgeous day.
My neighbor was in the street with a friend of hers. They were talking to a dog, who just stood there looking at them, a tad apprehensive.
At first I thought the dog belonged to the friend, but knew that wasn’t the case when she said loudly, “Go home!”
The dog, timid, ran across the street and came near me. Us three humans looked at each other. “Do you know whose dog this is?” Nope Nope and Nope.
We looked up the street. We looked down the street. No likely dog walkers anywhere to be seen.
Not wanting to approach the dog seeing as she was clearly nervous, I called her to me. She came. I checked her collar, no digits. Not a single one.
“Where do you live, pup?” She looked in my eyes, gave me a little wag with her tail and told me that she was all mine for the moment. (Obviously, she didn’t actually ‘speak’ those words, she just kind of vibed them at me in a canine way.)
I thought maybe her owner was staying at the Inn down the street. I asked the pup to be a good dog, to follow along, and set off.
“Oh boy! Going for a walk!” She was clearly happy with the prospect and trotted right along with me.
[Side note: Seeing as I’m not a dog owner, you may be surprised to know that I take dog walking fairly seriously. I have an ex-boyfriend who was about as close to being a dog whisperer as I’ve ever met and his dog was the most secure, confident, well-behaved dog that I’ve had the pleasure to meet. Watching them was inspiring and educational.]
She was so good. If she started into the street, one stern word from me would pull her back to the sidewalk. If she lagged too far behind sniffing some tasty smells, one word and she’d catch up.
If you, perchance, saw my Facebook post the other day that said, “I took an hour-long walk with a dog yesterday. Don’t know whose dog it was” you’ll guess, correctly, that the Inn person didn’t recognize the dog.
We walked all over town. I asked people if they recognized her. I kept my eyes peeled for anyone who looked like they might be looking for a dog. Nothing.
About an hour later we were back at my place. She lapped up water and I called the animal shelter. What was I supposed to do? I didn’t want to leave her to roam and my place isn’t set up for a dog…
They asked me to bring her in (is this always the case (!?) or was it just because it was Sunday?)
I said OK and hung up. Hmmm. Not wanting to take her in, but resigned if necessary, I said to her, “One more street. We haven’t gone down Pine St., ok?” Wag.
We went down Pine St. and up Main St.
As we got near the end of Main St., a Subaru drove by slowly and came to a stop as the pup jumped into the street in front of the car.
Her owner must drive a Subaru, but this wasn’t it. It happened to be my neighbor’s friend again. I told her I’d just about given up and was going to take her in. Looking up, I saw the dog heading toward a side street. Hm.
“I’ll try that one last street,” I told the friend and join the dog. All of a sudden the pup got super playful, running at me and swerving at the last moment. Hmmm.
She ran into a yard without a fence, trots back 25 yards and takes a poop in the tall grass. I call her. She’s not listening to me anymore. Subaru in the driveway.
I walked up to the front door, knock and wait. Knock again and wait. And again. No one. The pup is trotting around but not really sniffing at stuff. She still isn’t listening to me.
I went to the next door neighbor’s house and knock. Finally, someone home! “Do you recognize that dog?” I say pointing to her.
“Yes, he lives there.” He said with a look of disdain. “I never see people interact with the dog. She just growls at us when we walk by.”
I tell him what a good dog she’s been for the last, at this point, hour and a half. How timid she was of other dogs. The neighbor seems happy to know that she’s not actually mean, probably just territorial and a little scared.
I said my goodbyes and went home.
Besides the fact that she seems to be somewhat neglected, I was happy to have gotten the dog to her home.
What a funny adventure. You might think that the two of us had wanted some company for a lovely Sunday afternoon walk, met up and did just that.
For that hour and a half we were best of companions out to solve the mysterious case of the dog without a human. She being her follower canine self, me being my alpha self. She happy to sniff and trot, me happy to walk and be out under the wide open sky.
Was it coincidence that we ended up at her home just when it was time for the walk to end?
Or could it be that for the afternoon, we were tuned in to another kind of guidance. An instinctual sense that sourced in the heart and was attuned to joy—in this case, a joy of camaraderie.
Whatever you call it, for me it’s a poignant reminder of what can happen when I act from the heart and trust.
What life can be like when I stop trying so damn hard.