My dog has made me anti-social. Some might say more anti-social. The problem is that, like me, the dog is not anti meeting other dogs as such, he is just sensitive to the context and the type of dog. I would like to think, that in the latter case, I am more forbearing than he…
The problem with urban parks is that they are full of the kinds of dogs my dog might not like. It is hard to tell what kind of dog that might be; often I cannot tell until it is self-evident and far too late. I have started avoiding other dogs because it is easier. Often, I earmark a place as being suitable and empty of dogs and people. We begin our walk and then, lo and behold, it is like I have dropped an acid tab marked with a snarling set of canine choppers and we are surrounded by dogs.
That’s why today I drove out to the edge of the earth, although during the holiday period even the edge of the earth is busy with dogs. Still we managed to have a wild and windswept walk without encountering anyone too threatening. I took a few (rubbish) photos and the dog amused himself by doing his impression of a railer at Crayford greyhound track. He pretends he is wearing the red Trap 1 jacket, although he is actually wearing a green one with a red trim, and buzzes me at 25 mph, whilst I cross my fingers he doesn’t put his paw down a rabbit hole.
I thought I had lines from T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land in my head for a while out there today. The scenery was Waste Land ish and, because I took a short and muddy cut behind a driving range I found what must have been 2012’s quota of lost golf balls. Actually, the Eliot poem that mentions the ‘thousand lost golf balls’ is Choruses from the Rock. I have written about that before. I picked up 22 golf balls; there were more. Like the acid tabs marked dog, once you drop the one marked golf ball you can’t stop seeing them in the undergrowth or half-buried in the mud but if I hadn’t have stopped then, I would be there still. I threw the 22 back over the fence and high netting that was intended to prevent their escape in the first place. It was the opposite of returning them to the wild. I don’t know if it was the day’s good deed or not.
And the wind shall say: “Here were decent godless people:
Their only monument the asphalt road
And a thousand lost golf balls.”
On the way back to the car we were completely surrounded by dogs. Nightmare. Spaniels, terriers, puppies playing with footballs. If there is any time my dog is most likely to be anti-social it is when he has had his run and has his mind on a lie-down. I proceeded with caution.
One dog passed us, whining. He was a beautiful brown Saluki called Caspar – one of the Three Wise Men no less. He was, however, kept on a lead. His owner said he didn’t trust his recall, this was after two years. I pointed hopelessly at my dog who had slipped out of reach to greet a fellow, tethered, sighthound. ‘I don’t trust our recall after five,’ I said. We shared the brief moment of helpless embarrassment. These saluki and part-saluki lurchers are undoubtedly beautiful, but they are not of this world. They belong to camels and tents and following a star.
That’s the title that’s keeping my own ebook from the top spot in it’s free download category this weekend: Animal Care & Pets if you care to know.
I am not concerned, in fact I can’t help but smile. It’s certainly a title to reckon with. In fact, I nearly downloaded it myself before realising that of all the many disgusting habits my dog has, eating ‘poop’ is not one of them. I suppose if it was called ‘How to Stop Your Dog Occasionally Snacking On Cat & Horse Shit’ I might have hit download.
Sometimes, words are inadequate, or surplus to requirements. I am somewhere between the two at the moment, but I don’t know which. On such occasions, there’s always haiku to turn to; the classical Japanese structure of 5-7-5 syllables is a comforting small space to stuff a passing moment in the wilderness into something that might turn into posterity, or not, it doesn’t matter really.
I’ve left out the part where I was crawling around on my hands and knees in the grass trying to more successfully ‘pap’ the insect wildlife.
Bumble bee topples
over the violet petals
bristling and bulbous