Ah, there’s not quite anything like taking your dog for a walk early in the morning.
Cool and refreshing outside, always appreciated during the summer.
Birds flitting about and singing and generally spreading good cheer.
The drone of cars zipping down the road blessedly absent.
All the other morons living in the city are still in bed, for the most part, so I don’t have to interact with them.
That last one’s the most important for me. Sure, there’s still the occasional early bird out and about, walking their dog or just exercising, but the numbers are low and that makes life more tolerable for an introvert like me.
I’ve been getting up early and walking the ol’ poocherino for a couple of months now. All part of the “build a better, healthier me” project – regular exercise, consistent sleep cycle, occupying the dog so she doesn’t go insane with boredom, collecting chairs.
Yes, collecting chairs. People leave their unwanted chairs out on the curb, as one is want to do, and I collect them.
I’ve got quite a few four-legged buttock-bearers crammed into the former man-cave turned abandoned chair warehouse, just waiting to get called up and moved inside. I find it’s prudent to have backup chairs for when the inevitable structural failure strikes an in-use, indoor chair. When a leg buckles and you have a guest on the floor, nursing a suddenly bruised backside, you want to have a replacement near at hand.
So yes, things were going swimmingly with my new routine. Couldn’t possibly be better.
And then things got worse. Much much worse.
You see, I had been naively strutting up and down the neighborhood streets, a big goofy grin slapped on my face, gawking at the birds, wheeling freshly found chairs on my dolly, and relishing the light morning breeze. Not a care in the world weighed down on me. In fact, I’d never felt more care-free.
But the cats ruined it.
Cats ruin everything.
You see, one day not too long ago, I was staring at the clouds and soaking up the bird song while pushing an ottoman in front of me when I suddenly and unexpectedly came to a stop, the hand holding my dog’s leash violently yanked back. The ottoman and dolly continued a few feet, rolling into the street before falling over.
I followed the length of the leash to the dog and discovered she had planted herself on a lawn, lips smacking and jaws snapping.
She was eating something.
That something, upon investigation, turned out to be a cat turd.
My dog, that licks my hands, arms, and face at every opportunity, was eating a cat turd.
When I tried to pull her away, she resisted. Fiercely. Eventually, after much snarling and barking on my part, I managed to separate my dog from the feline fecal matter and, much chagrined, I continued our walk.
But it was too late. The damage was done.
So unnerved was I by my dog’s choice of early morning repast that I could no longer enjoy the breeze, listen to the bird song, or relish the silence of the wee morning hours.
No, I had to watch my dog and make sure she didn’t try for a repeat performance.
Which, of course, she did.
As much as I believe my dog is an idiot, I have to concede that she’s a wily beast too. Preventing this unauthorized diet quickly turned into a battle of wits.
A game of chess.
And I was losing.
Much to my horror, I discovered that this fecal ‘treat’ wasn’t a one-time experiment for my dog. It turns out she actively seeks out and attempts to eat these terrible ‘tootsie rolls’.
Was it possible I’d simply been so enamored of my peaceful “dawn’s early light” surroundings that I failed to notice.
I say attempts to eat because now that I’m watching, I stop her. But I can’t help but wonder, over these past few weeks, how much of her diet was being supplemented by this…unorthodox protein.
The soothing therapy of my morning walks has become a waking nightmare. No more quiet. No more birds singing. No more chairs.
No, now it’s all turds. Turds all the way down.
I tried walking at night instead, but that just makes it harder to see what she’s trying to eat (like I need to see!). And I can’t judge the quality of the chairs encountered in poor lighting.
I tried walking without the dog, but she’s gotten it into her head that she’d entitled to these morning walks and blocks my every attempt to exit the house without her.
My dreams are full of cat turds, dogs with cat turds in their mouth licking me, and chairs with cat turds stuck on the bottom of each leg.
Life has become a living, cat-turd filled hell.
And to top everything off, that nice ottoman that rolled into the street?
Hit by a car.
What are the odds?