It's been raining a lot as of late. As a result, I haven't been walking the dogs as much as I should be. Of course, I say "I" in that sentence, when the dogs are really Kris' so maybe HE should be walking them more than he does. Maybe?
This past weekend, as I was working at the dining area table, Bella came up to my chair and sat down next to me. She would occasionally reach up and put a paw on my lap, as if to ask, "Hey, will you pay attention to me?" I kept brushing her off, intent on my work, but she was insistent.
Eventually, I realized it would be easier to just take her outside, let her see that it was raining, let her soak through, and bring her back inside, than it would be to tell her to go away, so off we went, me bundled up in my rain jacket, Bella on her leash.
I'm a big fan of just letting the dog walk where she wants to walk when on leash, but nudging her away from areas I don't want her walking. Following our normal pattern, I walked out the door and turned left for our usual walk.
I managed to walk all of maybe 10 meters before Bella started tugging on her leash. I turned back around to look at her, and noticed that she was sniffing the plants near our driveway, and not moving away from it. Figuring, "YAY! She's already bored of the walk!" I turned around to walk back up the driveway. Instead of returning to the house, however, Bella wanted to walk the other way. Eh, fine, let's go around the block this way.
We walked to corner, where we paused before crossing the street. We always pause before crossing the street, crossing only on my or Kris' command, so as to prevent them from just blindly running across the street. This time, I chose to let Bella choose which way to cross the street. Without hesitation, she walked straight across the street. Ooooookay, I followed.
We walked along the street, turned right, then turned right again at the next intersection. We walked into a private neighborhood, one with tightly built houses, perfectly grooomed front yards, a private park and big neighborhood housing association payments.
I didn't mind much. It wasn't a neighborhood I'd ever walked through, oddly enough, but it was close enough to home that I was willing to walk around and check it out.
Bella immediately wanted to walk to the left once we went into the neighborhood. I insisted we go through the park in the middle of the neighborhood, but she immediately turned to the left at the first path in the park, so we ended up where she wanted to go anyway.
Though it was overcast and raining slightly, the lighting was still good enough for some nice pictures of the flowers that were out. Yes, yes, THOSE flowers, the ones that could all die if there's a good frost in the next month and a half. Annoying weather.
I continued to follow Bella as we walked around the block. I stopped her a few times for more pictures, but essentially allowed her to set the pace. We walked around the block, down the street, around another corner, and eventually ended up where we entered the small neighborhood. I was pretty much done with the walk, but Bella wanted to continue walking back towards where she first wanted to walk when we entered the neighborhood.
I wasn't in much of a hurry, though I wished I had brought my ipod to listen to the Brothers Karamazov, since this was precisely the right time to be doing so. We continued walking back around the block again. Eventually, Bella started to go off trail, er, sidewalk.
She jumped into the ivy along the side of the sidewalk. She walked up driveways and walkways. She looked around, but eventually continued walking. I figured she was looking for the PERFECT PLACE to go poop.
The PERFECT PLACE. Of course, said perfect place usually involves a lot of ivy and some perfectly inaccessible dumping place which makes poop retrieval a six part operation that includes balancing on one foot while tugging on the leash and leaning over so far that one slip means a face plant in said poop.
She continued around another corner and cross the street. The opposite side of the street didn't have a sidewalk, so I wasn't particularly pleased by this. We walked up a driveway a few steps, something Bella is normally NOT allowed to do, before I pulled her back and walked down the street.
We walked past two hours before the line of parked cars broke and I could let her walk up the next driveway for a few steps. She paused at the end of the driveway. She then lurched forward.
I looked where she was moving, following her gaze up the driveway. After a moment, a large cat leaped out of a small bush by the house door and scurried along the house.
A cat? We've been sniffing out a cat? I laughed. Good girl, Bella! You caught a cat! Good girl!
I will often let Bella walk close to cats, more for a lesson for her than anything else. I figure either the cat will swing out and claw Bella on the nose, teaching her a lesson, or not run, which will confuse Bella and entertain me, or run, at which point I'll just pull back on the leash.
This time, I allowed the leash to go slack so Bella could walk closer to the cat, when I realized, holy crap, THAT'S NOT A CAT.
No, it was an opossum as big as Bella is. It ran along the house, dashed along the bushes at the side of the property, and under the minivan in front of the house, where it stopped. Bella immediately lurched at the opossum, pulling on the leash for all she was worth.
As I tugged backward, I couldn't help but think, "Hey, maybe this will file down her nails."
Eventually, I starting walking away from the small hissing beast, dragging Bella along behind me. I'm sure she would have liked to attack the beast, but I wasn't about to let her. The animal was the same size as she was, giving the opossum a distinct advantage in the fight.
No, maybe if I had Blue and Annie and Bella I'd let them at it. Just Bella? Not a chance. I'm not about to let her pick on someone her own size.