Okay, this would more accurately be called “Min-Pin Encounter.” But “Min-Pin Adventure” sounds like either a Seventies Disney flick or a deeply, deeply wrong porno. Of such dichotomies are made the cheap amusements on which I thrive. So there.
Anyway, Emma Dog is doing better. Her Uncle Joe suggested she might be bored and depressed, and maybe even suffering Seasonal Affective Disorder. So I determined to start getting out to walk with her every day, rather than, well, sporadically, as we’d been doing. Okay, I’d been doing.
The key turns out to be to walk half the distance I was aiming for: a mile and a quarter, oir a little over, as opposed to 2.5 miles and up. I’d noticed that Emma tended to get footsore when we walked the longer distance. Me too. Which discouraged us from going out often enough to get tightened up for the distance.
So far, so good. The 1.25 mile walk participates in the same principle as my old Five Words model: set goals that make it easier, or at least less embarrassing, to succeed than to fail. Plus less wear and tear on the organism makes it easier to do it daily – thereby building up endurance.
So this morning, since I want to spend it watching football games (which have just commenced), writing, and taking breaks to bring in the Christmas stuff from the shed and decorate my little “tree,” I resolved to get us out first thing. Lo, by 9:15 we were heading out the door.
Not to the car but straightaway to the walk: south a block to Freeman, and then crossing Fourth to go to the ditch between 5th and 6th Streets. Which it turns out is called the “Harwood Lateral.” (There’s a sign. Your tax dollars at work, under the Federal “No Ditch Left Unnamed” program.)
I’ve been walking that ditch for upwards of thirty years. Haven’t been out on it for a while because they didn’t let water into it regularly, as they used to, over the summer, and Emma needs water, especially in the Spring and Summer. I was prepared with a bottle for her and a little bowl for her to drink from, but she didn’t need it.
Anyway, we enjoyed getting back to the ditch. One thing that hit me, especially when we turned north on the ditch itself: I’d been wondering, walking down near the Nature Center, which in turn lies near the river, where all the crows were? They’re our harbingers of winter and the holiday season; they usually congregate in vast cawing armies in that part of town. But I was seeing little evidence of them.
Well, there were plenty of them down by our ditch, as it turns out. Big, black birds, sitting magisterially in branches or flapping slowly overhead. And of course raising a huge outcry at our passage.
The walk itself was pleasant and uneventful. It was a bright, bracing day, calm, the sky lightly brushed with high clouds and cross-hatched with diffusing contrails (or chemtrails, as some of my friends would have it; I’m skeptical on that score.) I wore my jacket open and was fine.
Our eponymous encounter, or adventure, occurred when we were returning. As we approached Fourth Street here suddenly appeared a miniature Dobermann. It wasn’t a tiny teacup version, like the one I get such a huge kick out of over by Bear’s Ditch near the RGNC. It was more, I don’t know, terrier sized, and wispy.
(Thanks to the ever-helpful Wikipedia, we learn this one was a proper-sized Min-Pin; I’m guessing the bitty one’s a Chihuahua/Min-Pin cross. Gods preserve us.)
Despite my efforts to tell it no – usually works with dogs if you say it sharply – it trotted right up to Emma and sniffed her nose to nose.
And she did not slay it.
One thing about Emma: she’s not one of these scary dogs who strikes without warning. She’s one of these scary dogs who lets you know in no uncertain terms that she doesn’t like you. And in the past she’s tended not to like other dogs. To put it mildly.
Then again,. since she’s been a member in good standing of the Milán Pack, Emma’s grown more and more tolerant of the presence of other dogs. Then, too, it’s long been unclear to me whether she realizes these Hot Wheels sized creatures are actually adult dogs, as opposed to puppies. Like most domestic animals I’ve known, she seems tolerant of baby animals, even of other species.
So though I watched her keenly she did not bristle, nor show her teeth, nor growl. She sniffed back with apparent friendliness. She and the Min-Pin sniffed each other’s crotches, like polite dogs. The little critter then turned and jumped up to put its forefeet on my leg, so that I could scratch its head. I did this thing. It then jumped up in similar wise on Emma’s head, which seemed to be pushing it. But Emma endured this without hostility.
It then trotted off west along Freeman about its business.
I was a little concerned to have it run about loose on the streets. It had a collar and tags. I just was in no position, with Emma in tow, to deal with it; I didn’t even want to protract the encounter by trying to check the tags for an owner address. Despite Emma’s behaving wonderfully, I didn’t want to push my luck, even if the little dog did.
So we came home. Emma drank like a racehorse, I fed her, made my breakfast cocoa, took a bath. And now I’m ready to write!