Duncan got a bath this afternoon, a nice one with mint shampoo and lavender conditioner so he'd smell nice. The sun was still high and peeking through the windows above the mountains, bathing the apartment in bright, honeyed light, perfect for hunkering down for a good long brushing and pampering. He's never been afraid of the tub, perhaps because he loves the toweling-off part of the bath the best. He leans forward, nose to the floor, rump high in the air, tail wagging, and snorts and grunts while I wrap the soft towels around his head and rub hard through his ears and over his face. And afterward, when he's fluffy and his red hair is standing on end, he likes nothing more than to lay down in a sunny spot and let me brush him out, first with The Rake, and then with the soft bristles of his other brush, which smooths everything out, lays it flat and makes him look his most handsome.
And then, of course, there's the walk which comes afterward, allowing him to prance down The Run to show off for Jeffrey and Cindy and Pepper, Soldier, the Shepard mix in the balcony he torments from below, and the two new bony little female Boxers which have moved in, Bruno and Barry Manilow. After that, it's time for a quick gallop through The Glen and a walk around the park where he can find a nice pile of leaves (of which there aren't many as it still feels like Summer here) to roll around in.
I was watchful on our last walk, careful to keep him from getting too dirty, wanting to enjoy the softness of his coat and its sweet smell when he cuddles up to me tonight. But as he brushed by some low shrubs a yellow, twisted leaf caught in the hair below his ear and jiggled as he walked away. I reached down for it to pull it free and only when it was captured safely between my fingers did I realize it wasn't a leaf at all but a spider, the kind that tormented me in my youth, a big yellow and black garden spider, also known as a writing spider. It writhed and wriggled, twisting until its legs caught on my thumb. I shrieked, as I'm known to do in such situations, and shook it free. It bounced into the grass and scurried away into the shadows while Duncan just looked at me in that way he has, like he wants to shake his head in exasperation.
After my adventure with the snake and the fly a few months back, it's all I can do to get Ken to join us on our walks down The Run. Perhaps its best if he doesn't find out about this little incident. Agreed?