July 8, 2009

The Thought of This

It struck me today that my job as a dog dog walker is more than just walking dogs around the neighborhood. This blog, the chronicle of photographs, my reflections — it’s more of a historical document — a tome, as it were, of canine life in this corner of the world. You might not find that significant, but when I checked the statistics about who views this blog on a daily basis, I must admit my job and all that it encompasses, carries far more significance than I ever imagined.happy Wilson

I didn’t arrive at this profound awareness until the end of the day, in the evening actually, when we set out to play with Wilson, our last dog of the day. Wilson’s mom works nights and so, in the middle of her shift, we take Wilson on an adventure to tire him out. He likes it very much and by the time he returns, he curls up in front of the fan, calm and relaxed, and watches us leave with a smile on his face.

Wilson’s dad, on the other hand, is far away, deployed to Iraq. Wilson’s dad misses him very much and both Wilson’s parents worried about the transition so they hired me to keep Wilson happy and entertained while they were both away. I am honored to help out, but even more humbled by my work when Gretchen told me that Wilson’s dad reads my blog, every chance he can, from Iraq.

Wow.

what do I say?I am not a political fellow. Politics are for people, not dogs. Philosophy, on the other hand, is very much a canine domain and as you read today’s blog — no matter who you are or where you live –view the photographs as snapshots of a dog’s existential perspective on life. Look closely. Truly. We all say a lot with our faces, our tails, our whole bodies and in all of our contortions and postures, humans can learn a lot about how to live life in peace.

Since I’ve started with Wilson, let me continue with the end of the work day and spin my way back to the beginning.

Wilson and I went for a walk, Ann came with us, and we looked for a park where we could play fetch. Unfortunately, every park was busy with human activity, so we headed to the off-leash park where surprisingly, no other dogs were playing. So play we did — Wilson chased his orange and blue ball and I chased mine.

wilson ballmine

And then Mosher arrived.

Mosher

Mosher is a yellow Lab/hound mix and at 8 months old, he was a bit timid at first. Can you see it in his eyes? He wants to be your friend, but he wants to scope it all out first. And so he did, but in no time at all, Mosher decided to play.

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Now that’s a happy dog, don’t ya think? As much as Mosher wanted us to chase him, we were both focused on our individual games of fetch and so Mosher entertained himself by following us around.

One bad thing about playing at the off-leash park is that it’s very dirty. You can see by the dry grass and sandy surfaces that if we aren’t careful, we could end up in the bath tub after a romp in the park.  I’m apparently already scheduled for a bath, but Gretchen was worried about Wilson. Luckily, though, only his tongue got dirty.

cleandirty

And these two photos are a study in dog philosophy. In the first, Wilson is clearly contemplating the art of patience and in the second, he is practicing an ancient yoga (or doga as we call it) Asana — or yogic/dogic position of relaxation.  For his young age, he’s really mastered this relaxing pose, don’t you think?

Before Wilson, was Gemma. I didn’t go on a walk and romp with Gemma because I needed to eat my breakfast (which really was lunch by the time I decided to eat it…not much of a morning dog). But Gemma was not alone. On their walk, they ran into Quillette and Jessica and headed to the other tennis courts for a little bit of frolicking.

wanting to playhandful

Gemma is, as you well may know, a handful. Quillette is an elder and has mastered the way of schooling — of letting younger dogs know who is the boss.  Gemma persisted in playing with Quillette the way she plays with me, but Quillette held her at bay for quite awhile.

Neither dog really likes to play fetch, though both dogs are very interested in the ball.

go outbring back

Quillette likes to play soccer with her mom, so Jessica obliged and the two of them had a game of it.

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soccer3soccer2

And only after a rousing came of soccer, did Quillette show Gemma any attention.

hellohello2

Can you see Quillette’s acceptance of Gemma, finally, in this last photo? And what do you think she’s contemplating here?

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Yes, it’s in the tail and the ears and those eyes. She is practicing the refined art of happiness.  After 10 years of life, she’s a master of it don’t you think?

Before Gemma and Quillette, were Oshi and Perrito. I didn’t get to go on this walk either. That dastardly breakfast/lunch thing again. It’s bad enough I have to eat, but then I have to digest and it really cuts into my play time.

But Oshi and Perrito got to go on a walk and they got to play a bit, though Oshi is not so interested in playing as he is in going home.

not playinghome?

Perrito would like to do nothing else but play and since Gretchen recently found out about his love of fetch, she threw the ball for him in hopes of running off a little of his playful steam. Only apparently Perrito wasn’t as much into fetch as he was into shoveling. Yes, he’d chase after the ball, but once he reached it, he didn’t pick it up. No, he pushed it around turning his whole body into a fuzzy shovel. As you’ll see in the last photo in this next series, even Oshi thought Perrito was being a bit odd in his shoveling behavior.

shovelshovel1

shovel2what?

So, while Oshi begged to go home, Perrito chased after the ball and then pushed it around with his nose.

home now?ball

home/ball

Another reason why I didn’t get to go on the walk with Gemma, Oshi, and Perrito was because I’d been on a really big walk and romp with Monty and Argo. Yes, Argo. He and his mom came to visit and we went for a walk at Seward Park. Monty and I love playing at Seward Park and Argo got to observe (and stay clear of) our blur of woodsy activities!

monty blurplaying blur

staying clearblurring

After our athletic play through Seward Park, we rested for a posed picture. Argo liked that more — he felt a lot safer with us sitting!

safe

It was a full day, as you can tell, and I know I’ll sleep soundly tonight. But I’ll also sleep contemplating the thought of this — my words, deeds, and actions have significance. That’s deep and the wait of it all has humbled me quite a bit. I will take my work more seriously from now on both in my interactions with others as well as in my role as a connection between the human and canine worlds.

Finally, to Wilson’s dad, know that Wilson is doing well, that he’ll be thrilled to see you when you return, and that all of us are sending you thoughts of safety and peace.

okay

Until tomorrow,

Rubin

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