The ups and downs of dog walking

I walk to the neighbor’s house in the morning. The dog wolfs down the kibble I scoop into her bowl and then she’s at the door, whining and looking over her shoulder at me. I let her out thinking she needs to use the facilities, but she just stands on the other side of the door, tail wagging and looking between me and the gate. I’m a cat person, but even I can tell what she’s thinking: “Come on, you idiot! Get the leash!”

So I get her all leashed up and open the gate, and she’s off. She bounds across the street with me trailing behind, feebly trying to keep up. She trots down the sidewalk, ears pert, nose into everything, and I wonder if I should have put on my running shoes and wicking t-shirt before I took her out because my shins are complaining and my cotton shirt is getting damp.

This goes on for a good hundred yards. We cross the street, she has her first poop, and then she apparently decides the walk is over because she won’t move. I coax her down the street trying not to pull her leash. She walks with me but she’s plodding now rather than trotting. As she drags her feet, I can almost hear her saying in a five-year-old’s voice, “But I’m so tired! Can’t we go home?”

We make our circuit of the suburban roads, the dog reluctant and me pleading. Finally we cross to our street again and all of sudden, she’s all perky again. She pulls at the leash and wags her tail and all but runs back to her house. As soon as I open the door, she squirms past me inside and then turns around, and looks at me, tail waving expectantly.

What does she want?

I pet her and get her some water, which she laps gratefully and noisily before turning to look at me again.

If she were as tired as she seemed for most of the walk, wouldn’t she be lying down now?

I take off her harness. She rolls around on the floor, rubbing where the straps had held her fur down, then stands up and looks at me again.

I’m out of ideas.

I say goodbye and leave, locking the door behind me. In a few hours, I’ll repeat the process. Maybe then I’ll figure out what it is she’s expecting from me.