One of my earlier blogs was about my walks around the neighbourhood circuit each morning, after I had walked Mattie to school. I mentioned the conversations I would have with passers-by who were eager for a chat and how I’d hear about such disparate subjects such as a prize hen having been snatched by a hawk, how someone dealt with their ‘critter’ problems, a forthcoming operation, a wish for rain. When Mattie began walking on her own to school I did different walks then, exploring city parks, greenways and state parks. I loved these walks, but I missed seeing the neighbours, too.
They say life often turns full circle and here I am, several years later, back on the neighbourhood circuit – but with Mattie’s dog, Leia, this time. She is a cute, joyful two year-old, very pretty and very much a puppy. We think she has a bit of sausage dog in her (sausage dogs and corgis seem to be popular here), terrier, and maybe Chihuahua as she has ears that will point upwards when alerted, like a Mexican free tailed bat. As Mattie was moving to a new apartment that didn’t allow dogs, I discussed the possibility with Mike of our having Leia, and though he is not a big fan of dogs he did agree to this one. Our house is also so designed that she can be kept from the main part of it (which suits us both). Leia therefore has come to stay. She has one bed in my study where she spends the night, and where I often spend much of the day writing, and another outside on the patio from where she can watch the ‘world’ go by (and where she is currently curled up as I speak).
I have been walking Leia around the neighbourhood circuit for a couple of weeks now, just as I used to do alone several years ago. Together we explore the alleyways where the vegetation and plants are the same, but some of the older dogs that used to bark at me as I went by previously, have of course passed on and younger ones now bark at Leia instead. We have the occasional look at the creek, too, that divides our neighbourhood from the next, and whilst Leia sniffs around it I identify plants – Mexican oregano, kidneywood and zexmenia – that I was unable to do back then. And I’m back chatting to the neighbours we meet. Some I hadn’t seen in ages and some I haven’t met before. Naturally, our conversations differ greatly from those during young Mattie’s school days. Now we introduce our dogs, check how old they are, see if they want to be friends, or did I happen know about the Doberman that escaped the other day? and so forth.
Yesterday Mike and I were browsing a bookshop next to the restaurant where we’d just enjoyed a meal and I even found myself picking up a book entitled ‘How To Make Your Dog Happy.’ Needless to say, that elicited a groan from Mike.