A Confederacy of Dog Lovers

Dogs live in a circle of love. And if we’re lucky, they sweep us into it.

Let me tell you what I mean.

Yesterday we walked Honey, my golden retriever, to the marina.

A houseboat at Treman marina.

Why do we hang out at the marina? Because you never know when you’ll see something fun like this–a house built on top of a pontoon boat.

Confederates #1 & 2

When we stuck to the sidewalk, Honey knew it was just an ordinary walk. But once we crossed the highway to take the path toward the farmer’s market, Honey knew we were doing something special.

As the lawn on either side of the trail opened up, Honey showed her joy. She leaped around on the end of her leash. She play bowed a couple of times. I dropped her leash and she did tight zoomies around me.

As I saw a couple approaching in the distance, I picked up Honey’s leash. I saw them watching her. I looked up to smile and they smiled back as they met my eyes.

Confederates #3 & 4

When we arrived downtown, Mike left us under a tree while he went into the shop to pick up sandwiches for lunch.

I saw a couple stopped at the traffic light looking at Honey. The man in the driver’s seat leaned over his passenger to get a better look at her. I thought they just noticed a pretty dog and that they’d look away soon. But they didn’t. They were fascinated.

Soon I saw a little black nose peeking up through the glass. The woman had a dachshund in her lap. Oh, of course. They were dog lovers.

When the light changed, the driver didn’t notice at first. He was still admiring Honey. But eventually they drove off.

Honey the golden retriever dozes.

Well of course I’m tired. What do you expect when you take six mile walks?

Confederate #5

We were still waiting for Mike when I heard a voice behind me. “Is your dog friendly?”

I turned to see Honey wagging cheerfully at a man with a shopping bag.

I was proud that Honey kept four-on-the-floor as the man gave her the best ear scratches ever. While he pet Honey he explained, “I have two pit bulls at home.”

I replied, “They’re such loving dogs. No wonder you’re so good at ear scratchies.”

He smiled before saying goodbye and continuing on his way.

Confederate #6

With Mike back with our lunch, we walked the remaining 45 minutes to the marina. Once there, we set up our blanket behind a family fishing.

The little boy with them, who we later found out was Tyler, seemed fascinated by Honey.

He sat on the bench looking back at her. Pretty soon he started whistling. We let Honey walk up to him at the end of her leash.

Tyler was thrilled that his whistling attracted Honey’s attention.

Honey the golden retriever makes a friend.

Y’know, woman, if you had thought to ask Tyler’s dad for permission to publish his picture. this would have been really sweet.

Eventually he was down on the blanket stroking her ears and laughing when she sniffed him.

Honey broke down any shyness Tyler had and soon he was telling us about his family, his kindergarten teacher, turning cartwheels, and showing us how fast he could run.

Confederate #7

While Tyler’s family was packing up to go home, a man we had chatted with a few weeks ago after kayaking with Honey rode up in his scooter.

He just needed a little doggie loving and asked if he could pet Honey.

When we met each other earlier, we had learned about the man’s abiding love for big dogs—especially St. Bernards and Newfoundlands.

This time we spent an hour talking about astronomy, fishing, nature and all kinds of interesting things.

The man approached us because of Honey. But once talking, we discovered many other common interests.

Honey the golden retriever chews a bone.

Just killing time while I’m waiting for my public.

Confederate #8

By the time we started walking home, the sun was going down. We didn’t expect to meet many other dog lovers on our way.

But after crossing the bridge over the inlet, a man smoking outside the cab dispatcher shouted out, “What kind of dog is that?”

I stopped to reply, “A golden retriever,” while Honey walked over to introduce herself.

The man explained his brother had a golden retriever. As he grinned broadly at my golden girl, the dog lover revealed a few broken teeth. But he had one of the most beautiful smiles I had ever seen.

The War Between the States

The more time you spend online at dog sites the more horrible stories you read.

Is it actually a war between responsible dog people and the lunatics who hoard dogs, don’t clean up after them, or let their dogs roam off-leash bothering other dogs and people?

But when I take Honey for a long walk, I see smiles everywhere I look. I meet children who know how to be kind and gentle with her. I hear the stories of people who remember loved dogs.

It’s her world. A world of kind people who love dogs. And I’m just lucky to spend a little time in it.

Your Turn: Do you feel like there’s a confederacy of dog lovers? Do you find yourself a part of it when you’re walking your dog?

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Oh yes, absolutely. No matter were I am with these two, everyone has to comment or say hello to them.

  2. Hi Pamela!! I haven’t seen one of your posts in quite some time — it was good to finally see one again!! Glad to see all is well with you, Mike, and Honey!! When I take the girls to the park in town — which I admit isn’t often any more — most people we meet are pleasant enough but 99% of the time they’re running with their iPhone earplugs stuck in their ears and they’re off in la-la land somewhere, hardly paying attention to their surroundings at all. I’m surprised they don’t trip over themselves.

    Callie’s arthritis was bothering her a lot this spring and summer so I didn’t want to aggravate it any more than necessary by having her climbing into & out of the car. We finally added Tramadol to her daily Rx protocol about a month ago, along with 10-minute walks on the treadmill every day, and I can see a big difference already only 2-3 weeks later.

    • Poor Callie. But glad to hear you’ve found some ways to make her feel more comfortable.

      I find it hard to believe people ignore your beautiful girls, iPhone earplugs or not. :)

  3. Oh yes, I love that aspect of walking dogs. With Fozzie and Daria, or Fozzie and any foster dog, I am always struggling a bit to manage them as we walk–especially since Fozzie gets very excited when I stop to talk to anyone and starts doing leash grabbies, at which point Daria starts humping him :( But I always have my treat bag, and can usually get them to behave somewhat reasonably while people stop and pet them. The good thing is that they are very personable and love being pet, and I’ve had some good conversations with people about how great shelter dogs and pit bull-type dogs are.

    • Yes, excited dog management during greetings is a special challenge. Maybe you need a cute little card with your blog’s address on it for those times when Fozzie and Daria are just not up to calm greetings. :)

      You’re a wonderful shelter dog/pitbull ambassador.

  4. Honey is such a beautiful baby! Unfortunately, when I walk Titan, I don’t get all the smiles and praise that you do with Honey. People see a big chest and a big head and go the other way or make snide comments about pit bulls. Now if it was a pit owner, I would get the smiles, “oh he’s so beautiful” type talk. It’s rare I get from non-pit/bully owners. I’m glad your one Confederate asked if Honey was friendly. No matter what kind of dog, I don’t believe anyone should assume and just walk over and pet. Just my 2 cents. Bravo to Honey for being such a sweetie!

    • I agree that approaching a strange dog without a word to their person is insane. I use it as a teaching moment with kids but don’t expect I’ll have any impact on adults. They’re much slower leaners. :)

      I’m sorry you and Titan have to deal with negative people. Ithaca is pretty pro-pitbull. I think the progressive political vibe makes people conscious of the dangers of judging someone based on their appearance instead of their behavior. My town gets on my nerves sometimes but that’s one thing I really like about it.

  5. Oh, this is great…..how nice for a change to focus on all the wonderful dog loving people you can meet on walks. I always smile when I see a pretty dog, and I love it when people do the same to my dogs. Dogs are really great ice breakers for striking up conversations as well.

    • Yes, as an extrovert, those impromptu conversations are one of my favorite parts of having a dog. But I’m not sure my introvert husband agrees. :)

  6. Edie Chase says:

    My dog Dixie is a German Shepherd mix, and she loves to bark. She barks a lot, especially when someone wants to meet her. I told her that her barking scares people but I don’t think she understands a lot of english 😉

  7. Sadly… no. As a part-GSD owner as well, we get a lotta “is your dog friendly?” and we have to answer back “Not always” so then mostly we get folks walking away looking at us over their shoulder, wondering if we’re going to “release the hound” after them. It’s kind of a bummer. I mostly don’t even look at folks anymore and just watch Rita to see how she’s doing. (Sounds like Bren is experiencing a Confederacy of Dunces.)

    • But you are experiencing a confederacy of dog lovers even if Rita would prefer to spend her time with you alone.

      First of all, they’re attracted by Rita’s beauty and spirit and want to approach her.

      And second, they’re dog lovers enough to ask (showing their respect for you and her) to approach her instead of rushing up and getting in her face.

      So keep your eye on your pretty girl. But you are surrounded by a C of DL even if you don’t spend much time with them.

      BTW, I’m happy to to see another John Kennedy Toole fan here. Or would you be a Jonathan Swift fan?

      • Yes, you’re right – I just wish others could see her as the sweet girl she really is, instead of the Cujo she can appear to be… Maybe some day.

        I was on a kick of reading Pulitzer Prize winners a while back so read C of D. Have to confess… it wasn’t one of my faves – mainly because the main character didn’t strike me as a “lovalbe loser” – more just “loser.” I found him hard to root for. It’s an interesting (and sad!) story though about how JKT died before the book was published.

        • Lots of us in blogville appreciate Rita for the sweet girl she is. :)

          And I also found C of D difficult. Brilliant but difficult.

          I actually know someone who has a lot in common with Ignatius J. Reilly. And he’s as difficult to know as you’d expect that character would have been.

  8. Sounds like a lovely walk!

  9. Walking Harley is one of the coolest ways to meet some of the most interesting individuals ever. He brings out the absolute best in everyone…

    • I certainly saw that when I read about how much attention he gets from the school kids in your neighborhood. Hopefully he’s helping to jumpstart a life long love of dogs.

  10. Around here there aren’t many who don’t like dogs, luckily. The one couple that hated dogs moved over a year ago, since then things are great.

    • Lucky you.

      And your girls are irresistible.

      I don’t know many people who dislike dogs. But I’m even shocked to find people aren’t interested in them at all. I kinda wonder what’s wrong with them. :)

  11. Wonderful day! I agree that sometimes we think an interesting story is one where the day did not go so well. It’s good to see that a story is just as interesting when everything works out perfectly. I love it when people notice my dogs. :)

    • If you love it when people notice your dogs does that mean you’re an extrovert? Or does your desire for other people to love your pups override your personality traits?

      My husband is an introvert and he doesn’t find it nearly as thrilling to have other people notice Honey as I do.

  12. When I walk with Teddy & Dixie, most people smile and many express interest. Usually easy to tell who’s NOT a dog person…