I love walking at night, but I also apply lessons from self defense class and pay attention to what’s around me. Had I not been listening carefully, I might have missed the calls of the nighthawk or the yips of what I suspect is a family of foxes. I would have been mystified by the sudden sting of a mosquito’s bite had I not heard one buzzing moments before. Yes, there really are mosquitos on January 31st.
I listen to small rustling noises in the brush and try to imagine the size of the creature causing them. I’ve learned that small things make big noises in the dark. I imagine a tiny mouse scurrying under layers of leaves. Then, the sound of a small bird startled from its roost is followed by the vague impression of a shadow diving through the foliage.
This is when Tisen stops to poop. Pooping is not my favorite subject, but this dog does the strangest thing. He lifts his leg to pee on something and then he swings his raised leg around like he’s getting on a horse or a bicycle, but goes straight into poop position. Whatever his target was ends up pressed up against his bum. He often deposits his poop in out-of-the-way places like among tall grasses or weeds. I am getting a little tired of trying to figure out how to remove semi-liquid dog poo from strands of grass and shrubs without ending up with it on my hands. Tonight, I fail and after wiping the worst of it in the grass, start heading towards the restroom so I can wash my hands.
As we return from the darkest part of the park, we see two silhouettes coming towards us. Perhaps the combination of being backlit and uphill from us is what makes them seem like they are giants. Tisen freezes in position. I freeze, too. I watch the pair of ambling shadows approach, trying to get a make on them. I get the idea there is a dog with them, but I cannot see the dog in the dark. As they get closer, I realize the dog registers about the same color as the concrete sidewalk below him, giving him great camouflage for walking in a park on a sidewalk at night.
I also realize that the pair is a normal-sized couple out for an evening stroll with their dog, but the dog is the giant. If you kept the basic outline of an irish wolfhound and colored it in like a golden retriever, I think you’d end up with something that looked related to this dog.
Tisen lunges. I grab the middle of the leash with my clean hand and hold him back. Then, I start walking away, shortening the leash by increasing my distance. I somehow manage to keep Tisen under control without getting poop on anything. But, to be safe, we head straight for the bathroom sink and anti-bacterial soap.
- The End of Foster Care (nomadicmainstream.com)