Dog owners make a lot of sacrifices for their beloved pooches. One of the sacrifices is grimly olfactory in nature: having to prepare dog food first thing in the morning.
Kish is on the road today, so preparation of Kaseycuisine falls to me by default. That means that, rather than having my senses gradually stimulated to full awareness after a night of blissful slumber by the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the crisp taste of orange juice, I’m assaulted by the sights, sounds, and smells of Kasey’s specially prepared chow. The special digestive care prescription diet canned food that falls into the bowl with a wet, sucking, disgusting, odiferous plop. The Beneful IncrediBites dry food (made with real chicken, according to the bag) that must be spooned out, moistened with water, and stirred into a kind of stew because Old Kase is down to about one tooth in the dental category and needs food that can be safely gummed into submission. And of course the food must be presented in fresh, clean bowls for our little princess, which means a key part of the assault on the senses is cleaning and washing the bowls from last night’s feast, which inevitably have minced food cemented to every inch of exposed surface by the epoxy-like qualities of dog saliva.
The gag-inducing food is thoughtfully prepared and tastefully presented, none of which makes a difference to Kasey when she finally decides to eat and gulps down her food with reckless, lip-smacking abandon. But after my exposure to dog food in the wee hours, I’m ready for a walk and some fresh air.
The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs is a pretty place any time, but especially so on a crisp, clear morning. At such times a stroll around the lake in the middle of the Broadmoor complex pays obvious dividends.
Sometimes you just need to look for beauty to find it. This morning, as I walked to work on a perfect autumn morning, I was struck by the way the soft morning sunshine lit up the LeVeque Tower, leaving it looking bright and warm against the cloudless sky.
It was a pretty morning this morning, crisp and cool, with a scent of pine on the breeze.
Kasey, Penny and I were at the edge of North of Woods at the beginning of our morning walk when my attention was drawn by sudden movement up ahead. What the? What appeared to be a dog loped into view and stood in a neighbor’s front yard, dimly visible in the moonlight. Penny and Kasey both began straining at their leashes. I waited, thinking the dog’s owner would come walking up behind — but no owner came. The dog was off the leash and on its own.
My heart began pounding and my mind began churning. Could it be a coyote? No, too big. It was some kind of large dog that looked like a very skinny German or Belgian Shepherd, with upright ears and the familiar Shepherd head. Although Kasey barked, the dog didn’t, and I remember the Philosopher King of the Fifth Floor saying once that the dogs that bite try to come upon you silently. Could it be a stray that might attack, or even a rabid dog? If so, what should I do? I braced myself and considered the options.
I decided that standing still and holding back the dogs was the best option. Pose no apparent threat, make no movement that might be misinterpreted, and let the dog make the first move. After a few moments the dog began moving back and forth, then darted around us and disappeared into the darkness. We moved forward, but every one of my civilization-dulled hunter-gatherer senses stayed on high alert to detect the dog’s return.
After we completed the Yantis Loop we returned to our North of Woods neighborhood, near the place of the dog’s sudden appearance, and my adrenalin surged again. I scanned the darkened streets and held my breath as we passed through deep shadow, hoping that the dog would not lunge out at us from a hiding place in the gloom. It didn’t. Fortunately, the dog was gone.
It turned out to be a small incident among countless uneventful early morning walks, but it was a jolt nevertheless. It felt good to close the front door behind us.
The day dawned crisp and clear in Chicago today, and when I looked out my hotel window I enjoyed the reflections in one of the mirrored towers of the hotel complex. Mirrored windows are a common feature in those hotels that are so ubiquitous around large American airports, but even so the reflections looked pretty indeed on a blue sky morning.