Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Sunday Walk

It was the hottest day of the year so far yesterday. There was a slight breeze in the morning, when the triathlon athletes, who were competing in the annual Qualicum triathlon, cycled by. But Wind deserted us in the afternoon.

Gray suggested we take our dogs, Lucky and Nate, with us for a walk to return a movie we had rented. He had already mowed our considerable lawn, had cut new siding for our house, had done the recycling, cut down rogue blackberry branches...and still, he wanted to go for a walk. The man has boundless energy.

Graham used to climb mountains, in his younger years. It shows...he still likes to live a little on the edge. A couple of years ago, Qualicum Beach suffered through a blizzard, not very common here on the mild West coast. It was extremely cold, the wind was could not even see the road for the blowing snow. Again, Graham wanted to go for a walk. We did, and I am here to tell you it is by the grace of the Creator that we managed to find our way back to our home. Gray enjoyed it, though...he loves to face the elements, hot, rainy, cold or matters not. If its extreme weather, he's in. He's experienced in inclement weather.

The temperature on Sunday was 40 C. Hot. As we started out, Graham mentioned it might be wise if we sought as much shade as we could. I looked down the road, and asked if he saw any shade? The road looked as if it was buckling in the strong sunlight, with nary a shade patch to be seen. Ah well, I thought, a cold shower when I got back should take care of the copious amounts of sweat that was pooling and running everywhere.

The dogs never care how hot or cold it is...a walk is pure pleasure to these two hounds. Graham took plastic bags; Nate always leaves a pile somewhere as we is an absolute necessity for him. But Lucky, although he waters each bush, has never been able to have a bowel movement on a confounds the kennel people who try with desperation to get him to go to the bathroom on his exercise walks. I just thought perhaps he required privacy.

Lucky has some wires crossed somewhere in his brain. He is dyslexic, sometimes doing the opposite of what he is trying to do. This odd behavior in him has led to some hilarious moments. When he first learned to lift his leg, he would lift the opposite leg from the bush or pole he was trying to water, sometimes he would even try to lift both legs, ending up on his nose! Or he would hop around for awhile, with his leg lifted, trying to figure out how to hit the object that had just been watered by Nate, with such ease, it seemed to Lucky.

But he is four now. He has learned to lift his leg with gusto...although he still yanks his leg up higher than any other dog would, almost unbalancing himself each time. He looks so smug and happy that he's finally figured this common dog behavior out. But up to this Sunday, he still had never left a steaming pile for Graham to pick up.

But Lucky had a surprise in store for us. After Nate did his business, coming away looking relaxed and peaceful, something clicked in Lucky's brain. But, once again, he couldn't quite figure out the correct way to do it, when he was on a leash.

So when he lifted his leg against a bush, and nothing dribbled out, Graham suggested to him perhaps he had nothing left to water the bush with. But Lucky stood there, leg lifted, with nothing happening. It was odd. And then...plop, plop, plop...Lucky had a bowel movement. With his leg still lifted against the bush.

I cannot begin to tell you how funny it was.

But we had to stifle our laughter, at first. Lucky looked so proud, so pleased with himself...he had finally figured out how to do what all other dogs do normally. I could not dash his satisfaction with himself by letting out the burbling laughter that was welling up inside of me. He would have been hurt.

The look on Gray's face, though, was priceless...and I couldn't help the huge guffaws that billowed out of me, when I looked at him. I think it was one of the first times I have ever seen Graham at a loss for words. The look of bewilderment and astonishment on his face had me bent double with laughter.

All he said was..."What...was that!?!" as he bent down to pick up Lucky's offering, which, because of the angle Lucky was in when he did this thing, was not just one pile, but rather a few piles, dropped here and there.

Gray's usual composure deserted him. He has gathering a dog's bm's down to a fine art. He wraps the plastic bag around his hand, holds and inverts it, then picks it all up, quickly and cleanly, for deposit into the next waste receptacle. But it was so hot. Lucky had just given us such fodder for much merriment. And I was snorting with laughter that I was trying so hard to contain a mite, not only because Lucky's feelings might be hurt; but we were also in the middle of town! My laughter can carry a long way; drawing attention to myself in the sweaty, snorting state I was in was something I wanted to avoid.

Consequently, let's just say that picking up this gift of Lucky's did not go with Graham's usual panache. It was a tad messy. Thankfully, we were only a block or so away from the waste receptacle, and Lucky's offering went the way of all the other dogs' bms' before his.

We did not know what the temperature was before we started walking. I just knew it was hot, but when we came back the thermometer read 41 C. And it was humid. So we were drenched in sweat when we returned home from this Sunday's walk. But I wouldn't have missed it...huge, gut-busting laughter is a wonderful tonic, and once more, Lucky was the cause of it.

Lucky is walking more proudly now...he feels just like the other dogs who deposit their gifts to their owners or handlers when leashed. It doesn't matter to Lucky how he does it, the end result was the same.

Now there's a great lesson for me!

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