Walking The Dogs

Walking the dogs at 4:30 in the morning has its’ advantages and disadvantages.  Granted, most people wouldn’t purposely choose to be up, let alone walking their dogs at 4:30 in the morning.  But because of our schedules, Mitch works a very early shift and me trying to fit everything in, walking the dogs at that time is the most convenient.  Particularly since I haven’t showered and put on any makeup yet (I’m pretty scary without makeup).

One of the advantages to walking the dogs very early in the morning is that it is pretty unlikely to meet other walkers with or without dogs.  No one else wants to lose their precious slumber time.  So we’re pretty much alone making our early morning jaunt a pleasant walk.  I can pretend that we’re walking along in some remote wilderness instead of the city suburbs.  The tiny little city we live in has very few street lights making the walk mostly in the dark with most of the illuminations coming from people with porch lights left on overnight.  Another plus- no traffic.  No one else is up yet, so no cars to worry about.  Once in a while the paper man will cross our path, but only if he’s running late. 

It’s a lot cooler in the morning, which is much easier on the dogs, especially after this summer.  This summer has been a blast furnace with temperatures in the 100’s most days and mornings haven’t been much cooler.  So walking at 4:30 definitely has been much more tolerable.

One of the disadvantages to walking the dogs in the dark, is I can’t see any spider webs until I walk into one and this year there has been an abundance of spider webs stretching from the tree branches to the ground.    It’s probably a good thing no one else is around to witness me flaying my arms around trying to get the sticky strands off my face and rubbing my head searching for unwanted guests, while still holding the leashes in one hand.  Occasionally I let out a shriek too, just for good measure.  The dogs jerk around looking for the intruder or intruders ready for fight or flight.  I’ve even made Charlie growl ready to kill something.

Though there are no other people out, we are not alone.  We often cross paths with raccoons, opossums and deer.  We’ve heard some strange sounds in the woods around us that have made the dogs stop, perk up their ears and move in the opposite direction to the noise.  I’m not sure what animal made the cries and I’m sure that I want to meet it in the dark.  I have learned to constantly scan the area ahead and to watch the dogs and their behavior.  If their ears are up and are very alert, sniffing the air or straining on the leashes I know something else is out there.  I’ve been caught off guard too many times in the past.  Nothing like having your shoulders ripped out of the sockets.

The biggest minus to walking in the predawn hours is running across the crazies.  What is it about the dark and the crazies?  I have a neighbor that comes out of his house to water the plants, pick up the paper or get his mail from the day before in various stages of undress.  More undress than dress.  One time he was wearing a very short sarong to unload plants out of the back of his truck.  It wasn’t a pretty sight.  Walking upon a naked man watering his plants at 5:00 am is not the way to start your day.  I have since changed my route in the morning because of it.

But all in all, after weighing all of pluses and minuses, I wouldn’t change the time of our walking routine for a minute, maybe only the location (somewhere on the beach, in the mountains or the booger woods).

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