2018-10-05 / Commentary

You should never walk alone

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation

As Florence vacated the local premises on a brilliant sunny Monday morning, I did something I haven’t done in at least 13 years. I laced up my walking shoes and headed up John Chapman Road for a brisk morning walk, alone.

My current three-legged walking partner, Lacie, has been under the weather a bit and had to take a sick day. Lacie is a combination of Staffordshire Terrier, Pekingese, and Shih Tzu, and likely more. But those have been verified. And everyone knows Staffordgese Tzu Terriers are susceptible to joint problems.

Lacie has been having trouble moving around for several days and made a couple trips to the vet. The drugs she’s been taking have made her listless and lazy.

For the first couple days, she would rouse herself and make the walk with me, seemingly experiencing no discomfort while sniffing and exploring and marking territory. But after each trip, Lacie would be spent for the rest of the day.

After three days of being cooped up by the storm I was ready to stretch my legs. Lacie was unable to make the trip, so I went alone. I made better time than usual.

Waiting for a dog to lie on her back and rub all her troubles away in the dew soaked grass is soothing but time consuming.

When I returned home I was sweating as if I’d ridden my bike for 15 miles. But I was lonely.

In an earlier existence, unlike the song, I always walked alone. An aging cat named Abby was my lone pet and she wasn’t walking no where no how. Especially if she thought that’s what I wanted her to do.

After relocating to Columbia, and living with a multiple number of dogs, I continued the habit of walking but began inviting a dog along.

In 2005, when the Canine Gods delivered the Best Dog That’s Ever Lived to me, my habit was set in stone. I thought I’d never walk alone again. After Quigley went to his reward, Dog Heaven at the Schooner Wharf Bar, I brought Newt, the hound out of retirement.

Newt had been a good walking partner at times but not reliable. She would jump over, find a hole, or magically squeeze through the fence and disappear, chasing deer, real and imagined, until she could no longer walk. I thought I’d finally fixed every hole two years back, but sadly realized she was just too old to want to run anymore.

Stella, the Corgi became my next walking companion and served well. She was efficient and fast, and afraid of no living thing. Stella was set to take me to retirement until I came home one day and she was gone. She had attacked one of the cute dogs. As we all know all too well, no one messes with cute.

Lacie became my next partner and suffices when you don’t consider her predecessors. I don’t think she’ll be sidelined long. I’ve already noticed an improvement and perhaps she will be walking at the end of my leash very soon. At least that is my hope.

As Bobby Hatfield says, one should never walk alone.

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