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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

TEMPTATION

My new morning walk takes me, after a series of little streets in Carolina Meadows, out onto Whippoorwill Lane, a country road most of which, after the Farrington Mill intersection, is a long secluded dead end   The entire walk, to the end of Whippoorwill and home again, is roughly 3.6 miles, a bit shorter than my old walk, but quite pleasant nonetheless.  Near the end of Whippoorwill, I walk past a grand house [grand for this neighborhood] with a pair of gated driveways, guarded by a large Great Dane who cannot, I trust, get through the gates.  The Great Dane has siblings, a little calico cat and a small black cheerful dog of mixed ancestry who once trotted across the street to say hello.

Yesterday, I walked earlier than usual, starting at about 5:15 a.m.  When I passed the big house, the little black dog came over again to say hello.  I scratched her behind the ears, petted her, and told her how lovely she is.   Then I continued on my way.  The little black dog followed along, wagging her tail.  I thought, “Well, she will stop after fifty feet and go back,” but she kept on right to the end of Whippoorwill Lane.  Then she turned as I did and walked back with me to her house.

But she did not stop when we had reached her home.  She kept right on trotting beside me.  I tried telling her to go home, but she just took this as more attention and wagged her tail even more vigorously.  She followed me past the corn field, past the riding stables, all the way to the intersection with Farrington Mill.  By this time I was getting worried.  Although she is well fed and obviously a house dog, not a stray dog, she has no collar, no i.d. tag. 

She followed me to the entrance to Carolina Meadows, she followed me as I turned from street to street, she followed me into my building, she followed me onto the elevator, she followed me off the elevator, and she followed me right into my apartment, delighting and astonishing Susie.  We gave her some water and took her back down to our car, which she hopped into as though she had done it a hundred times.  Then we drove back to the gated house, pushed her out of the car, and drove away very fast.


This morning it started to rain before I reached the gated house and I turned back.  The flesh is weak, and tomorrow, if she follows me home again, I cannot be certain that I will do the right thing and take her home.  I mean, they can’t be very nice to her if she is so ready to follow me home, right?

5 comments:

David Auerbach said...

I'm afraid it means they are pretty nice to her (except for the lack of ID; I suppose she might be chipped). She sounds like a well-socialized self-confident dog who hasn't had many things go wrong. You might find out the identity of the owners (not too hard to do, if it's the big house people) and call them.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Sigh, I know, David. I confess the chip possibility hadn't occurred to me.

Mike Kozowski said...

Simplest answer answers best, they say. Obviously she knew someone who needed minding when she saw them. I can only imagine her concern that she saw you safely home. It's possible she has heard of the now-common occupation of dog walking, while (quite understandably) mistaking the implied subject, and is enthusiastically applying herself to a career of caring for peripatetic newcomers around the neighborhood. Assuming her schedule isn't overly full, and that you mind your manners, reward her with her hard-earned treats, and keep to a courteous and predictable schedule, I imagine she will be willing to keep an eye on you on a regular basis. At least until you you've been around a bit, and can be trusted to not wander off on your own. If you are truly lucky, she may one day, if she has decided you're the proper sort, share with you a somewhat anomalous, indeed surprising, canine view of Kant's Categorical Imperative which (and here I speak as the merest amateur, and no little degree of confusion) places the crux of the argument on the proper administration of bacon. Before you judge this out-of-hand, I would only urge you to recall that Kant was a newcomer to the notion of duty; a concept which has been the foundation of canine behavior for millennia. For, as any dog can tell you, only cats are consequentialists.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Bravo, Mike! That is far and away the most plausible explanation I have ever heard. Whether I am capable of the sort of reliable behavior she would accept and approve of remains to be seen, but I can certainly try, and hope that she is both forgiving and understanding. I trust it is not just the well-known Southern hospitality, which as a New Yorker I find both puzzling and alarming.

Jerry Brown said...

Are you entirely sure it wasn't the left over snails you forgot in your jacket pocket? They are called 'doggy bags' for a reason you know... and dogs will eat just about anything as far as I know.