Monday, November 13, 2006


I assume that regret is reserved for humans and is not an emotion found in dogs. This morning, Franklin the Dog slipped his collar and ran off into the morning dark. How quickly he changed from indoor dog to outdoor animal, fast, moving across the lawns of my neighbors in wide arcs. He went to the groomers last week, and was still wearing his red scarf -- this gave me some small ability to him, and then he ran in between houses, going into unfenced backyards, and I stayed on the road, hoping that no car would come when he reappeared.

Because I am familiar with the walking habits of other dog owners and their dogs in the townlet, I knew that a certain doberman and Jack Russell Terrier would be coming by shortly. Franklin is always compeled to bark at the doberman, and the doberman always pulls its owner along in response. We have a system of hiding our dogs behind a shrub when we see each other out.

After about 20 minutes, the doberman and Jack Russell and owner came up the street, and very quickly Franklin appeared, running around them barking and lunging at the doberman. I finally caught my dog, and together we all walked up the street, Franklin under my arm and the doberman and Jack Russell between me and the other dog owner. The dogs quickly quieted down, and I apologized several times and we talked about the weaknesses of all our dogs.

The weakness is arbitrary, the payoff of having a dog in a neighborhood, of living with people and their cars. Franklin has these moments of freedom and I hardly recognize him.

Back in the house, I am relieved that he is safe. Our slow moving cats stir, and I imagine that the dog must surely sense the difference between his act of independence and his life inside our home. The patterns of the morning begin again, and soon we are all playing our rituals -- I get dressed & he follows me up the stairs to wait through this, getting a nap on the bed before we both go downstairs.

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