Thoughts About Books on an Early Morning Walk With a Dog

About two weeks ago we adopted a dog. I’ve been wanting a dog for quite a long time. A year ago, I met a wonderful rescue Shar-pei who I really wanted to bring into the family. But the rest of the family was not as keen on him as I was, so he wound up staying with his very nice foster family and we went through the following year dog-less.

Turns out that was a good thing.

We now have a two year old brindle colored  Aussie Sheppard/Chow mix in the family and I like her very much. Although I forgot that having a dog in the family is something like having a perpetual toddler on hand. Up until now we’ve just had a cat. Cat’s are more like poltergeists. You don’t see them all that often unless they want to be seen and heard. And you can either love them and enjoy their enigmatic company, or not. Unlike a dog, cat’s don’t care what you think.

A number of years back I decided to stop paying rent for office space and moved back into my home office. The upside was I didn’t get all crazy about getting home at certain times and I didn’t have to lug stuff all over the place and I didn’t have to pay parking fees. On the other hand, I found that if I’m not careful, I won’t get out much. So one of the big benefits of a dog is that they need to be walked. Which means not only do I get up earlier in the morning to add the first walk of the day to the schedule, but I also step away from the desk for a few minutes to exercise the dog, and as an added benefit, myself. I learned that you meet more people when there’s a dog on the end of a leash.

It’s getting on towards fall now, and I’m finding that our early morning walks take us through a nearby park where there are a lot of trees, squirrels, birds, and often times, other dogs. We follow the same route almost every morning for about 40 – 45 minutes. And our bouncy rescue brindle like to stop and sniff in the same areas along our walks every day.

So what do these scents tell my dog? This is where I begin to wonder: Are these scents like a book to her? Do they tell a story?

“I’m Brandeis. I’m a male Staffie and I’ve been chasing squirrels by this oak tree for three years. I could catch them if I could slip this leash.”

“Kibble is better when it’s mixed with the cat food I sneak from the cat’s dish when no one is looking. Ooooh Robin!”

“Would-you-stop-tugging-on-me! I wanna go play soccer.”

“You know, poop is kind of cool.”

In my mind, I’m seeing my dog stopping every day to read a fresh new chapter, like the old serial novels or like the personal blogs of today. Or perhaps, before the scents fade, she is revisiting stories that she really enjoys and wants to read over and over again. Is she thrilling at some dog’s story about a successful squirrel chase? Feeling the pang of loss over a life long friend who no longer shows up at the park? Smiling at the happiness another rescue dog feels at the escape she made from a high kill shelter?

"So when you're done with Mockingjay, would you put it in my crate for me?"

No idea.  But it’s fun to imagine.

But after spending some time with her at a nearby leash free dog park, there is one thing I do know: Dogs would never waste time quibbling over digital vs. analog. Print versus web vs. smart phone vs. App vs. iPad vs. some other tablet. They wouldn’t care. A scent is a scent is a scent.

So much kibble, so little time. Who’d want to quibble?

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