It always starts the same way: She approaches me and sets her head on my knee. She looks up at me with big blue eyes that scream “Take me.” She playfully opens her mouth, sticks her tongue out, and softly pants. I can never resist her charms, no matter how tired or busy I am, nor do I want to.
That is the prelude to every walk I take with my dog, B Is Love. (What did you think I was describing perv?)
Once I have committed to this neighborhood excursion, the first thing I have to accomplish is getting B Is Love’s harness on. It sounds easy enough, except B Is Love approaches it like a MMA fighter performing a punch avoidance exercise. I end up in a sweat and she ends up growling with delight and my incompetence.
I strap on my iPod as we walk through the backyard and enter the garage. B Is Love paces before the garage door with the fervent anticipation of a prisoner being released from solitary. We just bathed in sunlight 10 seconds ago but you’d swear she hadn’t caught a speck of it in a month. This plays into my Larry David level of neuroses about being a bad dog owner so I grab my garage door opener and click. The door opens and B Is Love immediately ducks underneath, leading to my daily 15 seconds of petrification as I wait for the door to open high enough for my stuffed Irish pig behind to squeeze through while thoughts of what would happen if today was the day the door decided to malfunction and separate Breezy and I dance through my head. Electricity comes through again however and B Is Love and I are off.
We start off down the back alley leading to the neighborhood, unintentionally instigating the high pitched bark of the Chihuahua in the house across from us. B Is Love glances with derision at this desperate to be adopted by Paris Hilton, no quiero Taco Bell rat dog that’s the size of the toys she loves to run around the house and chew into oblivion and moves on. We come to the end of the alley where the holding mechanism on B Is Love’s 26 foot leash comes in handy to keep her from running up to the passing cars and introducing herself. We cross the street – I never get tired of watching her legs move with the expediency of the Road Runner after foiling Wyle E. Coyote – and we begin the walk in earnest.
With no further crossing of streets, B Is Love breaks into her walking strut, a cross between a peacock and John Travolta and the beginning of Saturday Night Fever. I embark on my own walking boogie woogie wonderland of oblivion thanks to the tunes jamming from the iPod, but this momentary aversion from reality and all its imperfections is brought to a screeching halt the moment B Is Love comes across her first squirrel. The next few moments unfold as follows: The squirrel taunts her like Floyd Mayweather Jr. at a press conference, B Is Love takes off after the squirrel in a frenzy, and my wanna be fifth Beatle singing self gets his shoulder pulled from his socket. B Is Love never catches the squirrel (Much to my relief) and I rotate my arm in a reminder of why I never need to do shoulder specific exercises at the gym.
Now we settle into the smelling and peeing portion of the walk. First, B Is Love engages in a sniffapalooza that entails more starting and stopping than the 405 freeway during rush hour, culminating in her discovering a preferred territory marker and unloading. Now while I find urination to be an agreeable feeling, I must say that I don’t partake in the unadulterated pleasure that B Is Love gets from it: Her joyful eyes and broad smile lead to kicking the freshly sprayed grass into the environment for all to share.
We press on and come across a house with a cat residing in the front yard. You would think the appearance of a feline would have me prepping my shoulders for another workout, but against all laws of nature, B Is Love just likes looking at the cat as if her appearance is a symbol that all is right with the world. It is, as Bill Murray described in Ghostbusters, dogs and cats living together. The same cannot be said for the Husky/Akita mix we come across on the back end of our walk that always growls from beneath its fence like the living embodiment of Metallica’s Thing That Should Not Be. B Is Love makes like Rocky after Mr. T. incites him, thus requiring me to restrain her with all my might while wondering how so much strength can be packed into 70 pounds.
The walk comes to an end and I reopen the garage door to find my wife Charger Gal has come home in our absence. B Is Love becomes excited and as soon as I undo her harness, she takes off to give her mommy some love. I walk in and take a seat on the couch, a touch bummed that being the one to take her around the neighborhood doesn’t warrant such warmth. I rationalize to myself that’s life and reach for the remote, but am met by B Is Love’s gaze. We lock eyes and she delivers a series of licks across my face that leaves us looking like Fred Flintstone and Dino. I smile brightly at my friend as I rub her belly in appreciation of the silent thank you that never fails to warm my heart and remind me it is the simplest gestures that are often the most profound.
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