This morning was a bit milder than it’s been lately, which makes for a slightly more pleasant wander around the block. Bouncing from one edge of the sidewalk to another doesn’t fit the description of a proper walk. Charlie sticking his nose into the snow banks every couple of feet makes a walk a lot longer. A proper walk is supposed to be purposeful.
A walk is all about the destination and getting there as quickly and directly as you can. A wander, on the other hand, is all about the journey and the smells that can be found along the way. It doesn’t even need a destination, or so Charlie thinks. Although even he will agree that sooner or later you have to go home and get something to eat.
This morning we were walking along the edge of the park when he suddenly planted his feet on the slushy sidewalk and started growling.
“Now what?” I said. Then I saw what he was looking at. There are waste bins in the park where dog owners dispose of their loaded poop bags. I’m not sure what Charlie thought it was, but he obviously didn’t see a bin. It was more like a strange beast with a deformed head. It was chock a block full of poop bags. They were spilling out of the opening in the lid, with a pile more on top. The ground around the bin was littered with them.
“It’s alright,” I said. “It’s the same bin we always walk past. It just looks different today.”
“It’s not right,” said Charlie. “Why doesn’t someone empty it?”
“The city did empty it three weeks ago,” I said. “Now it’s full again.”
“When it’s full,” he said, “why do people keep dropping the bags on the ground around it?”
“I don’t know,” I said, “it drives me crazy.”
We kept walking until we got to the corner and met another dog. Baggins was leading her owner towards the park. The two dogs quickly checked each other’s bums, then sniffed their faces and ears and we all went on our ways.
“I warned Baggins about that bin,” said Charlie. “She’ll put a message in the snow about it.”
When we think dogs are sniffing each other’s ears, they are actually whispering messages. When there’s no one else around, they leave a note on the ground.
“Who’s bins are they?” Charlie asked. I told him they belong to the city, and every once in a while a couple of workers come around with a truck and empty them. “Huh,” he said, “It doesn’t look like they do.”
“Well,” I replied, “they do have other work to do, and other parks to look after. I hate to be the one that breaks the news, but not everything in this world moves to the rhythm of your bowels.”
He flicked his head and the insult went right over him. “Is that why you people want the city to get its fingers out of your garbage?” he asked.
“What on earth are you talking about?” I asked. “And what do you mean by you people?”
“I mean just what I say,” Charlie said. “If the city can’t empty the bins on time, why don’t they find someone who can and get them to do it?”
“That’s what I thought you meant,” I said. “What you have to remember is those people don’t want better service, they want cheaper service.”
“Isn’t that the same thing?” he asked.
“Well,” I said, “You like your food, don’t you?”
He wagged his tail madly and sat down in a puddle of melting snow and looked up at me. “You know I do,” he said. “You also know that I don’t get enough of it.”
“Well,” I said, “we have been getting you top quality Canadian made food. From now on, we’re going to a private food contractor who brings in discount kibble that comes all the way from China. We’ll save a bundle of money and you won’t go hungry.”
Charlie got up and started walking in nervous circles. He stood up on his back legs, front legs raised up on each side of his face. “You can’t do that,” he sputtered. “I’ll call my dog steward.”
“Your what?” I laughed. “Where did you find one of them?”
“We have an agreement with the Westie Owners’ Association,” he barked. “You can’t do that.”
“OK,” I said as I tugged on his leash. “I think you see my point now, don’t you? What else is supposed to be in this agreement?”
“As a matter of fact,” Charlie said, “you’re not allowed to snap liver treats in half just to make the bag last longer.”
“Good luck with that one,” I said. “Let’s go. We’re almost home.”