I'm getting the message that I should chill some.
My writing, email informs me, has gone to the dogs. Trophy Wife translates: "Chill Out". Actually and seriously, occupying oneself - myself - with Dawg has proven to be one of the best ways for me to chill out.
The photo of Ballou, above, was taken by Trophy Wife at the local Elings Park. (You have to click on it to fully appreciate it.)
Locally we enjoy three almost contiguous off-the-leash "bark parks". Elings, as well as the Douglas Preserve and Hendry's Beach, are generous in acreage and variety, featuring an ample amount of undeveloped hilly paths, developed athletic fields, and beaches.
Running an athletic, spirited and trained dog off-leash in one of these surroundings is a lot like good blogging. Your dog meets up with other friendly or not-so-friendly canines, and bounces-off, runs along with, or otherwise skirmishes. Give-and-take-and-go is the best way to describe it; and going on to smell and sniff out things that denote the canine news of the day.
Ritual and routine have a lot to do with it. Ballou never communicates to me what's she's read and learned. She is no less communicative than Bando was before her, nor Schatze and Sienna before him. Dog and man are equally not communicative about their respective surfing and blogging, and who's to say which of us is more effective in our daily seeing of the big picture. However, it can be said that neither of the two of us is really 'blogged-out' when the day's blogging time runs out. Both of us want to rap with one more dog before turning away, back into our respective leashed worlds.
I have found that a daily romp of substantial length for man or dog in their respective spheres chills out both of them amicably. Civilizes both, actually.
Ballou went through a dry spell recently. 45 minutes - half way into a robust outing at Elings last month - I noticed her pausing to lick her front leg where she was missing about 1½ inches of skin. Her vet was on our way home and she diagnosed it as a laceration rather than a bite. The wound was totally understandable as road rash because Ballou often moves faster than her legs can carry her. I have seen her crash and burn from down-slope face-plants. It's always ugly to witness, actually; kind of like the stock market crashing, as she is driven by 'irrational exuberance'.
As a consequence, Ballou had to be confined to her own yard and was only permitted a short leash on sedate walks around the hood. But, worse, she also had to wear two Elizabethan cones, 24-7. Trophy Wife and I grew every bit as impatient as she.
Once I suffered an error of judgment. Very early on one morning, I allowed her off leash in the front yard. One nano second she was doing the wee-wee on top of the hedge and the next nano second she was gone a full 150 yards down the block after a cat. Covering that distance with her characteristic speed, Ballou resembled - with her two cones - a fifty-pound butterfly, flitting to and fro, maybe actually brushing the ground two or three times. But butterflies don't obey you; Ballou flew right back to me when I called.
I have been going through a dry spell recently myself. It's a post-election slump. I am not alone. Without mentioning any names, I have noticed other of my blogging acquaintances have been affected differently. Some have become more shrill than ever; others seemingly aimless. In my case, it's like I've run out of things to say. I'm happy. After unhappily enduring the occupation of my country by the unconstitutional Bush and Cheney regime for the last eight years, I can finally anticipate liberation. I have less outrage to communicate. It's not that I no longer feel outrage; it's just that I don't feel expressing it does me much good. I also can't muster much effort as far as supervising our new President-Elect. It's like Bill Maher and my friend Mad Mike have commented: we are trying to prepare ourselves for living with a leader who is smarter than we are.
In the meantime, I am experiencing adjustment problems not unlike Ballou's. Last night at dinner with old friends from the 90's, I went off on the gentleman who had started to explain to me why he had voted for McCain. (I couldn't help it. The dude is such a slump.) Overbearing and boorish is how I would characterize my behavior - not unlike Republicans for the last eight years. 'Uncontrolled barking' is how Trophy Wife described it.
I get one chance to redeem myself tonight, dining with two more Republicans. If I don't improve, Trophy Wife says I'll be wearing a short leash, cones, and a bark collar.
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