Country Dog/City Dog

I’m back in the city (or at least Manchester’s rendition of a city) for the week, and Sam (is a dog) and I are already feeling a bit out of sorts.  We’re going to spend the rest of the week with two of my daughters and Lucy, the Dutch Shepherd Libby stole from me a year ago, but, due to a series of computerized conveniences, spent the night last night in an Econolodge in Manchester.  Sam looked at me like I had lost my mind when I got out of bed and put his leash on him to go for a walk.  From the Tiny White Box, I just open the door and we walk—no intermediate bondage for him.  (Interesting:  the phrase “go for a walk” versus the simple “walk”—interesting enough for a parenthetical aside, but not enough for an exploration.)

On that walk, between looking resentfully over his shoulder to see his leash and smelling chemical smells, Sam (is a dog) demonstrated the monster within him—a monster unleashed by the city and magnified by my expectations.  For the last three weeks, Sam and I have been partners in exploration.  Other than calling him out of the dirt road when I hear a truck coming, we have been, if not equals, at least united in the notion that whatever’s over that next hilltop or around that bend in the path is worth seeing.  Walking with him through downtown Manchester, it’s quickly apparent Sam still wants to go down every alleyway, go every set of steps and check each doorway.  Me?  I want coffee.  There is little space for compromise between these two positions.  As the one with leash in hand, not on harness, I win, but I do sense some deflation in Sam.

On the other hand, both of us enjoy the human interactions, with friendly people, particularly woman, wanting to pet Sam and ask questions:

“How old is he?”

“What breed is he?”

“How big do you think he’ll get?”

I fight off the urge to answer:

“He’s 31 in human years—217 in dog years.”

“Half boxer, half Greco-Roman wrestler.”

“He’s got a serious eating disorder.  He’s down to 50 pounds from a high of 213.”

I fight off the urge, and I’ve won that battle.  So far.

Today we’ve got a busy day—breakfast with Libby, lunch with my friend, Jennifer—the creator and Goddess of this website who may, finally, show me how to edit the damn lying blog flag on the front page—a visit to Liberty House, dinner with my friend JP, a former New York Jets player and current Republican, and an evening with Becca.  This is very different from our schedule at the Tiny White Box, which consists of walking, eating, writing, walking, napping, eating, writing, cursing the invention of the internet as I take 30 minutes to upload a blog post and put up a Facebook notification, walking, writing, sleeping.

I miss the Tiny White Box already.

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