I mentioned earlier that this week for National Walk Your Dog Week that we were going to be walking in some different places to add variety to our lives as a little celebration. I did some research to find some new, different places for us to walk that were relatively nearby and also interesting for both those on both ends of the leash. One thing I didn’t take into account was that in a lot of places around here, people still haven’t seen a Greyhound before, at least, not one up close and personal. This is especially true in some of the small villages that surround us in the cornfields.
One of our walks this week had us driving over to a nearby town to enjoy their local walking trail. When we pulled into the parking lot, it was completely empty, which wasn’t that much of a surprise. I was more than okay with that, because it meant we could have a nice, peaceful walk, enjoy the scenery and get a few pictures without distractions.
This particular park has a small lake that part of the trail winds around. It has a lot of the typical features of a local park, including a playground in one area, and the local pool is off to one side although it’s closed for the season now. Once we got out about halfway around the lake, I noticed that another car had pulled into the parking lot and a woman was sitting on a bench while a child played on the playground. I also noticed a young boy around ten or so on the other side of the lake, walking along the trail.
Once we’d had our walk and taken our pictures, we were ready to head back to the car and relax for the drive home. I started in that direction and noticed the boy seemed to be a little closer to us on the trail. A bit farther down the path, I glanced back to see that the boy appeared to be closer. As a matter of fact, he was close enough for me to see that he looked a little rough around the edges. I shrugged it off and kept walking. About six feet from the parking lot, another look around confirmed that the boy was getting closer, although I couldn’t see signs that he was running or out of breath.
As we got to the parking lot, I heard the boy behind me. “Can I pet your dogs?” I should have known that it wasn’t going to be just another walk in the park for us. I turned around and Flattery couldn’t get over to him fast enough. I told him it was okay and Flattery was already shoving her head under his hand. Bunny wasn’t far behind, pushing up to get her share of the attention. The boy was grinning from ear to ear and told me that he loved dogs, and his aunt loved dogs, too. He went on to say that he had four dogs of his own at home. When I told him that we have two more at home, I saw him give a small nod of approval or contentment. After a little chit chat, we were ready to be on our way and the boy went off towards the playground.
I have to admit, I smiled to myself later as I thought about it. When I was that age, it’s very likely that I’d have been a little bit of a dog stalker, too, especially dogs that looked so unique and different from what I was used to. I suspect he wanted to see them up close because they look a lot different from the dogs he has at home. I think, at least for me, one of the things I love about sharing my life with dogs is that it ties me to my childhood self when so many of my life’s adventures were shared with a dog or two and they kept all my secrets. We talk a lot about how kids in this day and age are different, but our little encounter reminded me that in a lot of ways, they’re still the same, too.