Cai asleep at my side, the sign of a successful walkie. (Blue thingy is my knee. )
This morning, E.g. decided to take Fergus to work with her. Cai and I seized the opportunity for a little one-dog hike. We enjoyed ourselves, something I can’t say for every other dog we met.
First, we explored a new park. There was a sign saying that this was an off-leash area, between the hours of six and ten in the morning and six and ten in the evening. Good to know for future reference; we had left home just before eleven. We followed the circular path, Cai trotting happily at my side, being an absolute angel while I negotiated the icy patches.
On one side of this walled park, there is a gateway that leads onto a trail. We were just coming up to the gateway when a dog walker entered the park and released her five charges, who came bounding up to Cai. Hmm.
The trail itself has signs at either end stating that dogs are to be kept on leash. The dogwalker started down the trail, five large dogs flinging themselves out around her. Whatever.
Cai waited patiently as I picked my way to better footing. This took a couple of minutes, because the beginning of the trail is quite steep. Then it joins an old closed road, and the walking is easier. The road slopes down to a tributary, crosses it, and then turns sharply and follows the water.
When we arrived at the tributary, we saw a little wire-haired dog in an orange jacket running back and forth around the angle. It wouldn’t approach us. I listened, and could hear someone calling “Stella! Stella, come!”
Following the human voice, I found the same woman we had met in the park. I asked her what Stella looked like. “She’s a Golden Retriever,” was the reply. O-kay.
On we went. Soon we met — guess! — another dog walker, calling “Rambo! Rambo, come!” I asked her what Rambo looked like. “He’s a Jack Russell, in an orange coat. He’s gotten behind the fence. Rambo, come!” Oh, right, the fence with the big sign on it that says “Danger, do not enter” , I got it.
On we went. I noted the downed power line at the right side of the trail, parts of it at chest height for big bouncy breeds. I also noted a man, another dog walker, with a dog on leash — and two others off leash, one getting soaked in the frigid tributary. Thirty paces more down the path, we met a pug limping along on three legs, presumably part of the group we had just come across. Lovely.
On we went. I started counting the used poopy bags at the side of the trail. The final one was in sight of the garbage can in the parkette a hundred paces away.
We came into the parkette, and I went to check the sign just to be sure I hadn’t been mistaken about on-leash and off-leash areas. No, this was on-leash territory, all right.
Cai and I were just turning away from the sign for the return trip when a van pulled up and stopped near the garbage can. The driver opened his side door and four big dogs tumbled out. Not a leash in sight, let alone safety harnesses for the car ride. Good thing they were five car lengths from the busy highway.
And little Cai trotted at my side, and for all the ice he never pulled me off balance even once. Good dog!