Just minutes ago, in gentle rain and a mild breeze--so much nicer than the monsoon and tempest of earlier in the day--I took both dogs for a stroll.
We took the Orchard Walk, a loop of a mile or so past the playground where we saw two red-tailed hawks late last fall, past the smallish and sort of down-at-the-heels but still friendly houses on the other side of the railroad tracks.
As we passed one house, I heard barking and scrabbling, toenails on wood floor, as a dog struggled to find purchase. The front door was open, just the screen door between the excited dog and us. And then I saw the screen move, and a snout emerge, and then the entire dog, pushing through the screen, which was not secure but had been torn out at the bottom and now flapped in the wind.
Another gigantic, hairy dog, barreling right toward us. But this was different; this was OK. This dog did not jump on Riley or Boscoe, did not roll them, did not bark or bite. She had much better manners; clearly, she just wanted to say hello. She was big and furry, dark brown, with beige eyebrows much like Boscoe's. A likeable dog, though probably a headache for her owner with her Houdini-like escape abilities.
Boscoe barked at her a couple of times, but a few treats crammed into his mouth shut him up. Riley just sniffed her with interest.
Perhaps they remembered her; we had met on a walk months and months ago. Still, I was proud of Riley for not panicking.
I heard the owner: Did Saoirse get out again? She hurried up, grabbed Saoirse by the collar, apologized. It's fine, I said, and it was. Riley and Saoirse were sniffing each other somewhat warily, but with interest. Boscoe was more interested now in my jacket pocket, where the treats lived.
She likes to look out, the owner said apologetically, and I laughed. That's not enough, I said. And she's figured out your screen door.
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