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No Deposit, No Return

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No Deposit, No Return

(Walkin' the dog)

We leave our little girl in the house when we’re off at work so she doesn’t get into trouble. She lays around, pouts, dreams of adventure on ‘the outside’ and sometimes tears up the place if there’s a thunderstorm within forty miles. We love ‘er to pieces and take her for walks. Lots of walks.

I’ve been walkin’ this knot-heated Aussie shepherd for twelve years and right off she had me trained! Twice a day and thrice on weekends I take her on a ‘constitutional’ walk so far adding up to roughly 10,000 round trips!

I’m as shocked as you are! That’s 16 a week times 52 times 12=9,984 trips at about 900 feet more than less=9,000,000 feet divided by 5,280=1,700 miles. Just walkin’ the dog!

Ain’t math a trip? Like finding out how long your shoe laces are or what an amortized loan actually costs in its long run. I mean, 1,700 miles! That’s like walkin’ her down to RENO and back! Yellin’, “Hey, get back here!” at least 40,000 times and dispensing a truck load of dog cookies along the way.

I may have to give this concept further study someday, like how many miles have I covered by foot doin’ things like answering wrong numbers, takin’ out the garbage, trying to find lost socks, looking for keys, gin’ to the compost or just goin’ around in circles. Could be fun!

All I can say is if I covered that many miles just walkin’ one dog, no damn wonder I’m startin’ to wear out, for that is but a tiny little aspect of my daily meanderings.

When she was younger and we had fewer neighbors, she could coax me down as far as the creek of even down to the end of our road and the start of a better one. This represents a chunk of extra miles beyond those I’ve already calculated. Holey Buckets!

On average it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get that nose of hers anywhere near a place that’ll trigger a positive response (a movement she can be happy with ‘til next time). So there’s another tabulation for the right side of my brain: 15-20 times 10,000=150,000 to 200,000 minutes divided by 60=2,500 to 3,300 hours or 100 to 140 days! And that’s a conservative figure, at best. Just walkin’ the dog! No wonder they say dogs are so good for your health if nothin’ else.

I’ve probably spent closer to five months developing interesting and useful ways to trigger a decent deposit of kibbles in bits. You see, her brain has to get permission from her nose before it can send a command down to her legs and, depending on what her nose is up to, anything short of thunder or gunpowder seldom has little overriding effect. She also insists on checking on any new blogs that’ve been posted. Some are quite lengthy, making it necessary to budget extra time and cheerful patience. The use of anything beyond those two ingredients, such as profanity or sharp criticisms, result in the taking of just more time. I sometimes use this opportunity to practice a little Tie-chee (that’s my own personal customized version) if the road isn’t too muddy, otherwise I stand a good chance of needing a change of clothing when I get back.

When I’m pressed for time and don’t want to be late fer rush hour, things can get interesting; if to no one else but the quail, grouse, deer, moose and wild turkeys that watch us from the trees. They could no doubt tell you better’n me what I’m capable of doing in the wee hours before sunup.

Now we all have our particular impetus when it comes to ‘constitutional thought’; mine seems to be someone else occupying the bathroom or, if that fails, go outside and start mixing a batch of concrete. Sophie needs blogs. Not just any ol’ blog, but one done, it seems, with the right content and attitude. She will search endlessly for the right one unless I carefully do something to get her mind back on track.

One dark morning when she was still very young and the neighborhood wasn’t so built up and therefore hardly any other dogs to leave their thoughts behind, I was desperate enough to pick up a stick; nice and flexible with a tuft of needles out at the very end. “Okay, you little twerp, I guess I’m gonna have to learn ya how.”

I tucked that pine bough ‘tween my cheeks, put both hands in front of my feet and did my best Labrador retriever. No response. “I need to be on my way in ten minutes, so concentrate. I don’t want to have to show you this twice!” I didn’t have much to lose at this point, so I reached out and picked up a few pine cones from the side of the road, dropping them in a cluster that should have left nothing to her imagination.

The only change in her expression was a hung up lip like she had a half-assed case of cotton mouth, which always makes me snicker because that’s how my third grade teacher used to look at me when I asked my most thought-inspired questions.

Low and behold, Ray Spade came down his hill just in time to illuminate me hunkered over in the ditch, sniffing the ground and wagging a pine branch while Sophie stood there studyin’ my technique. I prayed for headlight failure or at least spilled coffee; anything. If he’d have stopped, I could’ve articulated. Actually, I’m glad he wasn’t that curious. Some things are just better off unexplained.

If we ever fall in love with another critter like her, I’m gonna want to name her Miles.

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Scott Clawson Scott Clawson No, he's not the electrician, he's the OTHER Scott Clawson, who's a quality builder when he's not busy busting a gut while writing his humor column for the first issue of each month, or drawing his Acres n' Pains cartoons.

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