Thursday, September 4, 2008


Walking a dog can be like dancing, with both partners attempting to move as gracefully as possible while seamlessly navigating around each other. Duncan and I often struggle over who is in charge, and despite my best efforts I have to admit that most of the time he leads. And even though I allow him to take us where he will as often as possible, we still get our signals on occasion and find ourselves sprawled on the ground.

This afternoon––a beautiful, warm afternoon walking among the tall clumps of lavender and hip-high wild grass which has yellowed nicely––I dropped his leash and let him run free at the top of the park. He'd stumbled upon a brand new tennis ball on the far side of the courts and I mistook his delight in its fuzzy greenness as an invitation to play fetch. Duncan wanted only to hunker down in the grass and gnaw on it as the clouds merged and parted above us. After several attempts to pry it from his jaws he jumped up and scampered away. I leapt after him, which only spurred him on harder. He bolted several yards ahead, dragging his leash after him. I charged close behind, reaching out for his tail, pinching his rump, making all sorts of playful noises and not paying the slightest attention to where my feet landed, which ensured they'd come down on the leash.

Duncan came to an immediate halt. Or rather, because his speed and my foot on the leash prevented him from going anywhere, he did an abrupt somersault, his chin pulling into his chest and his hind end––the last part of him to figure out what had happened––came up over his head. He flipped on his side and because he still couldn't move, splayed out flat on his belly, legs akimbo. His sudden lack of momentum caught me off guard and I toppled right over him, jogging my feet this way and that, rapidly tip-toeing to avoid his paws and tail. He tucked his head down and waited for me to pass above before careening completely out of control and landing in a heap a few feet away.

When it was done, me crawling across the grass to check on him, he gave me that scolding, "You-had-to-mess-it-up" look I get only when he really means it, then turned away from me, pulled the tennis ball out from under his belly and went back to chewing on it, keeping his back to me for a long time. A very long time.

It was an hour before he let me near enough to retrieve his leash and walk with him back home.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

I hope that neither of you were injured during the tumbling spree. I bet another bite of birthday cake would make it all better for Duncan. XO