It's impossible for me to handle both dogs by myself on a walk, because Bodhi is insane. He thinks it's fun to tackle Lily over and over during the walk, particularly if she has just relieved herself (and one of us is busy trying to clean it up before it gets stepped in or kicked all over the place). Generally, we'll walk both of the dogs in the evening, as a team, and I'll usually take them on individual walks during the day. This allows me to enjoy the walk, too, without having anything dislocated in the process.
We start out toward the clubhouse, rounding that and going down a little hill on the walking path that winds through the common areas. From the first turn, we can see the brush around the storm pond; a long, narrow ditch that fills with water after a rain; and the trees beyond the pond. Occasionally, a column of geese are parading around the benches that are perched over to the left, nestled beneath a few trees. When they see, hear. or smell the dogs coming, they are off - waddling away or flap-hopping their way back to the safety of the water.
Around the next turn is the home of Molly and Sally, an English Springer Spaniel and a Border Collie mix, respectively. They've not been out and about lately. Normally their owner lets them roam around off leash, but someone must have said something to her, because Molly and Sally are MIA. Bodhi always has to stop and smell the grass there, inhaling their scent. Because of his prominent lower jaw, he has to nearly turn his head upside-down to get a good whiff. The result is that he looks even crazier.
Down the walk are two little Indian girls who are a tad bit afraid of dogs. Now and then they will run out to see the dogs, saying, "Can I pet her?"--dissolving in shrieks and giggles when Lily tries to lick them.
And then we come to another stand of trees framed by soft green grass. In the edges of this mini-forest, we have seen bunnies, feral cats and kittens, and glowing eyes looking out at us. From there, we go up a hill toward Aidan's house.
Aidan is a little boy of about 3 or 4 years old. He's adorable and loves the dogs. When he sees us, he comes running, yelling "Buddy!" I suppose that's what he thinks Bodhi's name is. Bodhi begins to wiggle in anticipation of the little hands on either side of his face, pulling him in for a big smooch. Lily wanders onto their lawn and begins grazing, Aidan's dad laughing that he'll have less to mow. Before we move on, Aidan has to kiss each dog on their back. Don't ask me why.
The rest of the walk has been rather uneventful lately, because the two barking dogs behind the rotting fence down the sidewalk have either been permanently kept indoors or have moved away. They used to take turns sticking their noses through the broken board in the fence, carrying on at us and our dogs. No sooner had I said, "Wow, I think if I lived in this building, I'd be ticked at having to listen to them all the time," than the dogs went away. Maybe a neighbor did complain.
But the walk has just gotten interesting again. A big black-and-white female cat has taken a liking to me. I first saw her a week ago, sitting next to a driveway that I presumed was hers. She's been out there every day since, and she is not always sitting over near that driveway. Sometimes she's near the storm drain. She obviously knows a thing or two about dogs' bark being worse than their bite, because she'll let Lily approach and sniff. Bodhi - not so much.
Last night I had hubby take the dogs on the rest of their walk while I got to know the cat I'm now referring to as Sophie. She was pretty good sized, not emaciated at all. She loved getting petted and just fell all over me, but there was no collar. This cat was someone's pet, and now she's out there fending for herself, I must suppose. With the economy being what it is, and with so many places around here for sale (or foreclosed), I must also assume that she could have been abandoned when the family did the skedaddle.
She followed us at a short distance, steering clear of the dogs, and watched us go inside. I left the porch light on and put out a dish of cat food. It didn't look very much touched this morning when I took Bodhi out for his solitary walk, so he polished it off.
No sign of Sophie today or any other wildlife. It was just a humid, warm walk to get some of Bodhi's insanity out. I hope Sophie has found a cool place in the shade to rest for today. I hope to give her some more love tonight when we go on our evening walk. It's a real shame if someone put her out to fend for herself. Would they do that to their kids?
If I didn't have so many animals already, if I hadn't already taken in my daughter's cat and her dog (Lily was hers), I'd bring Sophie inside and see to it that she has a gentle life. I'm afraid we're full here, but I'll keep an eye on her and put out food now and then. At least she still has her claws. That's something, at least.
Peace - D