There they were, as cozy as could be, obviously an item. She didn't seem to care that she was blatantly strolling down the sidewalk with someone new, only a few blocks away from the house where she lived with another man. She looked as ladylike as ever, with her thick white hair and dignified pace.
And her waving plume of a tail.
She, in this case, was the Great Pyrenees (think St. Bernard, only white and a bit less jowly) that lives along my regular walking route. I see her often, out with her owner, so it was a surprise the other day to see her with someone new.
It was even more of a surprise, a couple of blocks later, to see her walking with her owner just as usual.
Oh. I didn't know there was a second Great Pyrenees in the neighborhood. Never mind.
Watching dogs walk their people is one of the things that keeps my mind occupied while I, not having a dog to look after me, am out walking myself. There are as many different walking styles as there are breeds of dogs and body types of people.
There's the all-business chocolate lab who sets a brisk pace and is too focused on his destination to bother with being petted by strangers. The two lively little dogs, sharing the same woman with separate leashes, who are so busy trying to sniff everything that they yank her in opposite directions. The three Shelties, also with one woman but separate leashes, who trot along with such obedience and good behavior that it's almost scary. I've wondered whether drugs might be involved.
One of my favorites is the middle-sized terrier that ranges out to the end of its unreeling leash, dashing through the weeds and exploring here and sniffing there with unrelenting energy. Meanwhile, its owner ambles along in her pajama pants and flip flops, with the leash in one hand and her coffee cup in the other. There's more than one way to enjoy an early morning walk.
Earlier this summer, on a visit to Devils Tower, we saw a family heading out along the path that circles the tower. It looked like Mom, Grandma, and three kids ranging in age from about four to ten. Mom was pushing a baby stroller, one of those deluxe jobs with room for so much stuff that it would be easy to overlook the kid altogether. As we passed them, I glanced inside to see the baby.
There, in regal splendor, sat a tiny terrier, all bright eyes and brisk mustaches. Now, there was a dog that knew how to take his people for a walk.