Driving and Biking in the Big City

Neighbors on two and four legs

with 3 comments

Tucker, Andy and Patsy look forward to a walk

Today I saw an irish setter that I’ve watched with his boy owner for years.  The beautiful rust-colored creature is quite well trained and even better behaved. I saw the familiar four-legged friend with what must be the father of the usual boy walker, and it dawned on me that the young boy must be old enough now to be off to college.

We must have been nodding and sniffing acquaintances for years that now melded into infinity. They were quite a pair in younger days, galloping the gully, sometimes swimming and always fetching a worn tennis ball. I loved to watch the boy and dog together and to consider how wonderful a dog is for a kid. I was reminded of my Barney, the dalmatian who was raised with my kids in Michigan and who would sit in the snow, waiting for his boy to come home from kindergarten. Barney heard the school bus long before human ears could tell it was time. I wanted to ask the man about the boy, but, as usual, the irish setter was in the lead and the passing was quick.

Andy dog and a butterfly

I had known them since my three-dog days, when I walked Patsy, Tucker and my beloved old Andy dog. Those walks were  wild and mostly painful for me but routine and necessary. We were always just barely under control and one cat chase away from a skinned knee.  I never controlled Andy much (a lot because his alpha dog had been the wild Barney) but also because of  his instinct to be free to hunt. He was the fastest, most agile creature ever in my life. He could jump our full sized picnic table without a running start, could balance easily on his front legs and stand for hours on his back legs, looking over the fence and into the great beyond.  For some reason, he reminded me of a skinny, wrinkled neighbor from my girlhood who would stand for hours at the fence, smoking and wearing a polka dot house dress, talking to my mom. Of course, Andy was quite masculine  in his white and liver-colored spots and too much of a health nut to ever consider smoking.

Andy with little brother Tucker

He once surprised me with a quick lunge at a cat, and I took a header into  some decorator poles and fences that sent me to the minor emergency room. But I couldn’t bring myself to correct him.  His instincts were too natural and his intentions quite innocent — unless you are a squirrel or a cat. I knew I had my hands full from his pup days when he jumped out the truck window, his skinny neck slipping the leash that I had, just in case. As prepared as I tried to be with Andy, I was never quite prepared enough. If he saw an opening, he would run free, too quick to catch and often speeding on the concrete until his paws bled. When he’d finally come home, his feet would be tragically mangled and we would both pussy foot around for days until he was heeled. I knew I shouldn’t  handle three hounds, but Tucker is related and has become a true treasure, especially after old Andy went to run the heavenly gully.  Tucker is a Lubbock dog who was at college with my daughter but then tired of apartment life when she graduated and began to teach. Even though I’m back down to two hounds and my life is pretty simple, I know the experience of three and give those folks some respect and plenty of space.

Almost daily, I see a couple of two-legged neighbors with a pampered white shih tzu — what I like to call a houseshoe dog because it’s fluffy and about the size of a foot.  This little family is more methodical and disciplined than me and my hounds  despite some physical tragedy. I noticed them first when the dog was a mere slip of a shoe, all pristine and fluffy. Later, she had an operation to correct a broken leg, and her owners still took her on outings,  pulling the fluff ball around the neighborhood in a red wagon.

I watched as Ms. Houseshoe evolved from red wagon to bandaged leg and some walking to full walking again. Most recently, the poor gentleman owner fell while he was exercising at the local 24-Hour Fitness and hit his head. He had to have brain surgery and what must have been brief time in recovery because I still saw him on his routine walks with the shoe dog but in a heavy head-securing apparatus. Nothing stops them from taking their fluffy on a regular walk even when he had to walk slower and several paces behind his wife. He’s now pretty much recovered but wears a helmet every day.

On the gully, I see a variety of owners and four-legged beasts who have discovered the fun of the open spaces, egrets, herons and no traffic. I’ve watched two boxers and their husband and wife owners train them from pups to well behaved dogs. This is, of course, in contradiction of my own spoiled dogs who can’t be controlled and who seldom are polite.

Patsy, our queen

Probably most familiar to me is the fair Romeo who lives in my neighborhood but who I’ve seen as far away as Greentree Pool (more than a mile away) and maybe even Lake Houston (five miles away).  I do not know his owners as well because they are never with him and actually let him out to roam alone. Of course, I capture him any chance I can and return him home, suspiciously thinking the owners let him right back out again.He is an adorable jack russell terrier with speedy little legs that carry him quickly on what appears to be a specific  mission. He is quick and sure-footed and has many places to visit every evening.  After he learned I would grab him and bring him home, he runs from me now. Still, occasionally, I catch him in a dalliance and snag him again. It’s a challenge for both of us and a pretty fun break from my routine.

My bird dogs in their prime, Patsy, smiling, and Andy, focused on business.

Like my two-legged neighbors, the pets here come and go. We make friends but do not get too attached. We are wanderers and like the traveling life, at least for now.

Indulge me the photos of my beautiful four-legged family members. All of these were taken by the magically talented, Big Johnny. He’s captured personality as well as beauty and movement in these athletic creatures.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

November 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm

3 Responses

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  1. […] Neighbors on two and four legs. […]

    • I love these dog ramblings.They are like reading a big warm fuzzy.


      November 23, 2012 at 6:31 am

      • I have to honor them some days; they admire me so much. They love every move I make, every word I say. Not true of the rest of my family members. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Barb.


        November 23, 2012 at 7:46 am

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