When Scout and I walk we move at a pretty quick pace. It’s a slow run for me, and it’s a quick walk for her. She has a little arthritis in her back end and a quick consistent pace makes it a more pleasant walk for her. I think it’s the momentum. That’s okay with me because it gets my heart rate up for the entire length of our walk.
She’s focused. We have a path. We’re familiar with all the smells, or rather she’s familiar with all the smells, so there’s not a lot of lollygagging. Our path includes a steep hill. She runs up and I try to keep up. The biped never wins.
That said, every now and then we’ll be moving along and she’ll come across a smell that will stop her in her tracks. Nose to the ground. Stop. 65 canine pounds of sudden stop; me, attached to the leash, arm pulled out of the socket. Stop. The end.
I don’t mind. It's her time. She should be allowed to "stop and smell the roses," but I wonder what crossed the path. A new dog in the neighborhood? Wildlife? A message she’s been waiting for? Not a new term, but one of my favorites: peemail from a canine friend?
I’m in the middle of planning our shelter’s big event. I’m on a walk with a good stride. It’s my 4th year of planning this event so it’s a familiar path. I’m running up the hills and moving at a quick pace. We’re a week out. I’m not doing much but working. I won’t be doing any social events this week, my TV won’t be turned on, news will be forgotten. I’m event focused.
Then last night a co-worker said this to me, “Did you see where Bruce Jenner is becoming a woman?”
Bruce Jenner becoming a woman. The news stopped me in my tracks. 128 pounds of suddenly stopping. Nose to the ground, getting the facts, processing the information, peemail, snail mail, smell mail, etc.
Bruce Jenner. Bruce Jenner the heartthrob of the1976 Olympics. I remember like it was yesterday watching him run, feathered hair flying in the wind. I was 18. Mesmerized by the man-ness. Boys in my town did not look like that. I was suddenly aware of the big wide world. It was a good day. Probably all hormonal, but still a good day.
Dogs possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in us. And the part of a dog's brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than ours. So maybe Scout smells new worms, cats in the neighborhood, a disturbance in the force. I don’t know. But I do realize there are moments that constitute stopping us in our tracks.
I guess if I'm going to live in the big wide world I have to be prepared for sudden nose to the ground stops. Sniff it out and then move on and run up the big hill. My 18 year old self wants Bruce to stay who he is so my memories can stay in tact. Not fair I know. Not possible, I know even more. Life changes every day. I'm good with change as life moves forward. But what do we do with the changes to our past? The changes that have the ability to alter our memories?
Bruce can be whoever he wants to be. Power to everyone to live their lives the way they want to live their lives as long as they’re not hurting anyone else. But I've got to stop and sniff on this one a bit longer.