dog walking

One of my very favorite things in the world is that I have been adopted by a sweet, loving, utterly crazy dog. She is a Neapolitan mastiff who belongs to my sweetheart’s brother, A. A is never home–he has work, school, a new girlfriend–and she was terribly lonely, and I took over feeding her and giving her a treat every night and in that way, I won her heart. When I come into the house, she is so excited to see me that her entire back end wags and her tiny little tail goes whap whap whap whap . She rubs up against me and weaves around my legs and between my knees like she is a cat, except she’s almost as tall as my waist and weighs a hundred pounds, so it works out rather less well than it does for a cat.

She is neurotic, anxious, and insecure. She has no idea what size she is, a drooling problem, a thing for sugar and for snuggling. She is clumsy as hell, tends to fall over, gets jealous and confused, often doesn’t understand what’s going on, and is kind of dopey. She and I have so much in common, you see, that I cannot help but adore her and want to be good to her. It is a good thing for me, that she loves me so much. I have never been loved in such an unconditional way by a dog before, and I had no idea that it was so very awesome.

For most of the day–hours and hours–she is left alone in the house, and she often gets bored, or her bladder is full to bursting or she’s gotten into the garbage and she has an accident on the floor and when you walk in the door, you know that she is so ashamed and embarrassed and sorry and wishes you wouldn’t look at her like that because she really didn’t mean to. When I was working in an office, there was not much I could do. Now I am home every day, in my underpants, staring at my laptop. I walk from the kitchen to the bathroom and then back to the living room. Some days–the cold days–I don’t even get out of bed. I reach over the side and pick up my laptop and I work from a cocoon of blankets, some of them electric. And I was going slowly mad, getting bored, and it is a wonder I did not have an accident on the floor.

The solution was obvious, and elegant, and has become a daily routine. I work, I shower, I head out the door and over to the house to pick up my crazy dog. I say, “Do you want to go for a walk?” and she snaps to attention, quivers, crouches, leaps, cannot contain her joy–she is the luckiest dog in the world, she wants me to know. She is so happy. She sits for the leash, and she trots outside, hops into the car. She does not ride well in the car. She still tries to sit on my lap while we’re driving, which works out poorly for everyone. But once we’re there, at the golf course that sits at the base of the mountain, she explodes from the car and streaks across the snow, a black comet against a field of white. Then she stops to poop. And then she circles around to me, rushes at me and around me and I break into a run, and we are both running in the cold, across the field of snow, bursting through the trees and skidding down the hill. She is spinning and huffing and digging her face in the snow and she dances around me, and we are running again, and neither of us wants to ever go back home.

13 Replies to “dog walking”

  1. Yeah, there is nothing in the world quite like dog love. The shittiest day melts away when you walk in the door and are greeted with the furiously wagging tail and huge smile (it’s not panting, it’s smiling!). “You’re home! Yay! I’ve been waiting for you all day! Let’s go outside!” Honestly, I’m kind of afraid to ever have kids, because I don’t know if I could love one as much as I love my dog.

  2. HURRAH! Dogs are the best at dragging us delicate humans out of the doldrums. What is that sweet girl’s name? Or is she protective of her privacy?

  3. Thank you for taking care of her. It breaks my heart to read of this kind of neglect. What a good person you are!

  4. I think I remember you mentioning this over on EW. This was the dog that was having some behavior stuff, right? Has all the running around and getting a chance to pee helped with that at all?

  5. Good for her. And good for you. Seriously. You should own her – she needs you! Don’t know how your kitty would feel about that, but still… and you’re right – her behaviour issues are all about boredom and loneliness. A dog needs stimulation and attention.

  6. How beautiful dog love can be. I have a friend whom my dog loves beyond measure; I accuse her of stuffing raw meat in her pockets before she comes to visit. But it is what it is.

  7. Daily walks are a huge, huge deal to them, and will definitely help with any behavior issues she has. Plus, your bond with her will strengthen over time with all the walking, and that is a beautiful thing.

  8. Sheila: my boyfriend keeps saying we ought to have a stable of dogs instead of ever having kids, and I think maybe he is not wrong.

    Sal: she is named Elmindreda, after a character in A’s favorite book (The Wheel of Time series), usually called Min. Or Minny. Or Minny Minny Cocoapuffs. Or Cocoapuff, or Princess, or Crazydog or ARGH QUIT DROOLING ON MY NEW PANTS.

    Julia: Aw, thanks. It makes me feel good, too.

    Beth: Yes! Same unhappy dog. Being home to walk her has made a HUGE difference, I am happy to say. She’s still neurotic and weird, but she is so much happier, I think, and does less snapping.

    Maddy: I would love to own her. I keep telling A to just give her to me, please. He is trying to figure out a way to be there for her more, and in the meantime I am happy to be her buddy. I love this dog like crazy.

    Goslyn: I will try that raw meat trick. And then she will love me most!

    Annalisa: She is starting to rely on them–she knows what’s up when I come into the house at 3. And it makes me never want to let her down, so I guess it goes both ways.

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