And Then There’s Dog

I have a real problem with telling people no. So, as Boy was growing up, he was a perfect reason to get out of stuff without having to actually say, “I would, but I don’t want to.”

“Can’t stay over. What would Boy think?”

“Can’t make it. Boy has a thing.”

“Can’t afford it. Boy needs braces.”

See? Who could argue with that?

Since Boy moved out, Dog has quickly moved into his place as my excuse for everything.

“Can’t stay over tonight. Gotta take Dog out.” As opposed to those other nights when he uses the litter box.

“Can’t make it. The kennel was full.” Or, I’m sure they would be, if I’d called them.

“Can’t afford it. Dog needs to get his teeth cleaned.” Braces seemed a stretch.

Dog People are perceived as friendly. Did you know that? I’m not sure exactly how that works, but apparently, you’re friendlier if you have a dog than if you don’t.

And there’s a whole clan of us. Dog People. We meet in parks and on the street. We flash our gang sign: A double foot plant followed by a right-armed pull and forward thumb move to engage the retractable leash. We have a greeting we shout out: “Friendly?”

I’m taking some more of my forced vacation. I’m off until next Thursday, and since I just got back into town, I’m hanging around here. I have a long list of projects I need to do, but mostly, I’ve been going to the beach.

There are a ton of beaches around within driving distance, and which one I go to has a lot to do with my mood or agenda that day. If I want to play tourist, I go to Clearwater Beach. If I want to hang out with friends, I go to Treasure Island. With Dog, it’s the Redneck Riviera. There’s Honeymoon Island, a long-standing Sunday morning tradition for Boy and me from when he was five, and we lived right up the street. Yesterday, I went to Indian Rocks.

I’m still trying to get used to doing things alone, so I’ve been planning little excursions by myself. I have yet to brave a restaurant by myself, but it’s all about baby steps. So off to the beach I went.

I took a book and a towel and stayed out just long enough to make me fall asleep extra early last night, which in turn had me up early and walking Dog at four-something this morning, something I thought was absolutely insane until I ran into two other dogs with their owners.

Dog was thrilled. Our usual five in the morning walk rarely garners any dog interaction. Apparently, there’s a dog-walk window.

While the dogs played, the owners and I chatted about how beautiful Dog is:

I think so, too. Yeah, he is really big for a Lab. Peanut butter sandwiches and pasta. Of course I was kidding. Eukanuba. No, he’s not a mix. He’s English. A breeder in New Jersey. So, what kind of dog is yours? Really? Well, he’s gorgeous. No, we’ve never tried that dog park. It really is funny that there are so many late night walkers. It was nice to meet you, too.

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