Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The self-walking dog

Frank starts work at 5:30am, which is a half an hour before the first city bus rumbles through our neighborhood. It's too far to walk, and biking is currently not an option, so Pam drives him to work every morning. Most mornings Caesar gets up early, too, and hops around in circles until someone hooks a leash to his collar and says, "Yes, you can come along for the ride."

Usually someone grabs the leash, and to prevent him from rocketing out the door as it opens, the bouncing black furball is made to calm down and sit long enough to get the door open. The human then staggers out to the van, trying to keep up with the excited hound. Usually someone is holding a cup of coffee in the same hand. Usually the person NOT holding the dog and coffee tosses a towel on the puddle of coffee by the front door.

This morning it was particularly cold: 28F, which is rare for our region. There was a heavy fog in the still air, and the other early-rising neighbor's car had already left for the day. We decided to hook Caesar to his leash but let him drag it to the van, since he wouldn't be tempted to run up to anyone and obnoxiously greet them. Pam stepped on the end of his leash and commanded "Sit." Caesar sat. Frank opened the door. Pam released the leash and Caesar shot toward the threshhold but stopped short, as if jerked back on his leash. He backed up and ran toward the doorway again but stopped short and backed up. His leash hadn't caught on anything. The problem was that the leash was dragging across the floor as he ran, and Caesar knew that was not right.

He looked down at the looped handle on the leash, picked it up in his mouth, and smartly trotted through the doorway and headed to the van.

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