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Exploring the neighborhood with a dog.

January 27, 2016

Photo on 1-27-16 at 11.51 AM

Gunther at home.  Hears something outdoors.

January 27, 2016

Gunther whined at the back door.  So, for the second, maybe third, time this morning, I stepped into my winter boots.  They are easy to put on.  I imagine fireman boots are easy like that.  I got my coat with hood, checked pocket for plastic poop bag.  Yup, I had one.  Plus two in my pants pocket.  No three.

I don’t want any more dog shit on our floor.  On our carpet.  On Becky’s walkway upstairs.  Gunther doesn’t have to whine much to get me to go outdoors with him.  I’m learning.

I clipped his leash on his harness.  Then, out on the driveway, he managed to pull on his leash hard enough so he gacked, making a hoarse croupy cough.  Annoying.

“Gunther, Gunther,” I said softly.  He stopped pulling and hacking.  Looked at me.  We started walking.  We are hiring a man to help us train Gunther not to pull on his leash.

He pulled me with the leash again, then when he got interested in the snow, I pulled him.  He weighed 15 pounds at the veterinarian’s.  I weighed 212 at the psychiatrist’s today.

This morning I barely made it to my 7 a.m. appointment on time.  I was to be there at 6:45, but that’s when I woke up.  His office is just a few blocks away, so I got there okay.  I am afraid of being late.  I’ve heard about people who missed an appointment and were never given a second chance!

Dr. Stiles said he was pleased that the medicine he prescribed is helping me.  I managed to tell about my new dog and about joining the chorus of Turandot, Puccini opera.  He smiled and nodded.  “Good,” he said.

He upped the dose of one of my antidepressants and urged me to stay busy.  And to see him in two months.

This morning I walked Gunther around the next block east of ours, past the man I mentioned earlier, the friendly neighbor with the cats with bibs and bells.  At the end of his block I greeted a teenager as he walked in front of us.

“Just one more day in paradise,” he said, with a sort of mirthless laugh, crossing the street.  I wondered if he was in high school.  Then I wondered if he was depressed.  Why shouldn’t young people expect to feel at least neutral, if not good?  I thought.

At the east end of the block, part of a car tire caught my eye.  I had never seen a tire’s bead lying on someone’s lawn before.  Just an 18-inch, or so, circular piece of rubber with nylon fibers protruding, maybe 2 inches wide, the part you can’t see when the tire is on a rim.  Only this wasn’t on a rim.  It was just the bead, on the lawn, a bare place where the snow had melted.

Thus absorbed, Gunther and I crossed the alley, heading for Alderson Avenue.

One time, perhaps 25 years ago in the summer, P. and I walked past the two houses on the corner of First and Alderson and observed a great fat man reclining on the front steps.  It was hot, but late enough that the sun wasn’t beating down.  The steps had no porch.  The big man wore a sleeveless T-shirt and trousers.  His arms and legs were sort of spread out.  The house next door, a near copy of the one with the man, has a 2-foot circular attic vent.   The unusual vent added to the quaint feeling I felt when we saw this man resting that hot evening.

We walked past the two houses.  Gunther made his usual annoying stops to listen to a distant dog until we walked down the block and I saw one of the cats with a bib.  Maybe it had come over from the Burlington side of the block.  The cat had a bell and a bib.  It may have been hunting, on the bungalow, near the lower edge of the roof where a vine or bush had a flock of birds.  The birds flew as Gunther and I walked by.  Gunther menaced the cat, which seemed to ignore us.  Of course you can’t tell with cats.

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