I typically walk three small dogs these days — my two dachshunds Penny and Justin and a “loaner” dog Pumpkin, possibly a dachshund/Pom mix.
We’re very popular in the neighborhood, and by “we,” I mean the dogs. No one runs across the street breathlessly inquiring of me, “Can I come talk to you and tell you how beautiful you are?” No, it’s the dogs they want to pet and whisper sweet nothings to. I’m woman enough not to let this be a blow to my self esteem. After all, I am mother to two of them, so I can take some of the credit for their beauty.
They say a woman with dogs is three times as likely to engage in conversations with strangers as one without. I’m not sure whether this is true because as far back as I can remember, I haven’t been allowed to go for walks without my dogs. It’s in the adoption paperwork. I have permission to leave the house only if I’m wearing make-up because that signifies I’m either going somewhere to buy food for the dogs or going somewhere to make enough money to buy food for the dogs. If I don’t put on make-up, my canines know I’m not leaving the neighborhood, so they will block my path to the door with their long bodies.
Walking is good for us. We get fresh air and exercise, we get to sniff the bushes to keep up on community news events, and occasionally we get to dart across the street to chase a squirrel. Sometimes I have to point the squirrels out, especially to 12-year-old Justin, but that’s why the dogs bring me along on these outings. That and for the endless supply of pink biodegradable poop bags I carry in my pockets at all times.
But mostly we walk for the compliments.