Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sneezes can't stop me!

I refuse to allow the annual fall allergy attack to prevent me from taking a walk in such beautiful weather--but I'll admit that it did slow me down a bit, what with having to haul huge wads of tissues in my pockets. Out amongst the ragweed and freshly-mown hay is probably not the best place for my sinuses to be right now, but that's where I took them. I just can't resist such a clear, crisp day.

Hopeful and I have worked out a particular rhythm on our walks: I plod along at my usual pace (a bit slower today because it's hard to walk straight up a steep hill when your sinuses feel as if they've been invaded by live baby hippos) while she goes bounding off into the fields or the woods along the road. If I don't see or hear from her for a while, I whistle and she comes bursting out of the woods about 50 feet ahead of me and sits there looking at me with impatiently, as if to say, "Where've you been?"

Last week a big buck jumped out of the woods right in front of her and ran across the road with Hopeful in close pursuit, not that it did her any good. I doubt that she'll drag a deer carcass onto the front porch the way she did with a squirrel recently: I opened the front door to find the dead squirrel plopped down right there with Hopeful gleefully wagging her tail and begging for applause. I wanted to tell her that a dead squirrel is not my very favorite thing to see right outside the front door, but I couldn't resist those hopeful eyes. "Good dog," I said, but my heart wasn't in it.

At one point on our walk today, Hopeful hung back and hovered behind me as if nervous. What was she afraid of? I looked around and saw no other dogs, no cars, no deer--but there in the yard of a house nearby was a toddler clad only in a diaper and a frilly pink hat. Okay: the dog is not the least bit intimidated by a deer twice her size, but she's frightened of a two-year-old girl? Maybe she once suffered trauma at the hands of a little girl--maybe the sight of a toddler in a frilly pink hat brings back memories too horrible to speak of. Whatever the problem was, she's not sharing.

I'm just happy that she shares my walks, although I didn't appreciate her attempts to share my used tissues. I generally carry a dog treat in my pocket when we go for a walk, but this time the treats were crowded out by all those tissues. Every time I put a hand in my pocket to take out a clean tissue or stash a used one, Hopeful came running to see what I had in my hand. "You don't want this," I told her. "It's icky." I'm not sure she believed me.

She got her reward when we arrived back home: a nice doggy treat and some fresh clean water. My reward was knowing that I'd survived, that it'll take more than a horde of nasty allergens to confine me to the house. I defy pollen! I spit on mold! I laugh out loud at allergies!

Or I would, except laughter tends to bring on a coughing fit.

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