b Papa Dog's Blog: Walking the Dog with Parents

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Walking the Dog with Parents

Doggy Dog has suffered since the birth of Baby Dog in a variety of ways, though he seems happily unaware of most of them, dogs being generally content to make do with whatever lot comes their way. I’m sure he misses his off-leash walks, though. He had daily expeditions in the days of the first trimester, when Mama Dog had both time and energy to burn, but things are different now. As described earlier, it’s a major operation getting anywhere with both dog and baby in the car. It’s definitely not the sort of thing that’s going to be happening anytime soon.

Happily, we’re in special circumstances today. My parents are both dog lovers, and my dad has probably been making a bigger fuss over his granddog than his granddaughter. Last night, he asked after the possibility of going on a walk at Pt. Isabel, about which he’d heard so much, and where you can never be sure what you’re going to find. We said sure because, well, frankly, we hadn’t really given much thought to providing them with diversions and activities during their stay other than staring at the baby. Since they had a car with them, the whole operation became a lot easier – Mama Dog and my mother could take Baby Dog in one car while I went with my dad and Doggy Dog in the other. I almost didn’t think of it because I naturally don’t want to inflict Doggy Dog’s wet, muddy, shedding hide to anybody else’s car, but, hey, it’s a rental, so who gives a shit?

Pt. Isabel lies on the shore of Richmond, north of Oakland and Berkeley and Albany and El Cerrito. It’s frequented by what seems to be the entire canine population of the Bay Area, but weekday trips are comparatively less congested and less likely to involve Doggy Dog humping some hapless Airedale. On a clear day (which today really wasn’t) you can see across the bay to San Francisco – you can see the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges, and I though I remember being told there’s a spot where you get a three-bridge view with some part of the Richmond bridge included, but Mama Dog assures me I’m full of crap about that. I definitely didn’t see any Richmond bridge today, and I was looking. During low tide – which again, it wasn’t – Doggy Dog is known to run down the rocks at the end of the furthest jut of the point and chase through the Bay sand after whatever seabirds were unwise enough to hang around pecking at kelp until he showed up. Nothing like a terrified explosion of seagulls bursting up into the setting sun to make you feel the infinite possibilities of life. But again – that wasn’t today.

When we arrived, I went immediately to the Mutt Mitt dispenser and started to stuff my pockets with poop bags because it’s been a while since we’ve been to the dog park and the stores were starting to dwindle. We only get one newspaper a day and it’s not always in a plastic bag. Doggy Dog takes an average of three dumps a day. You do that math. My parents, visiting from land where such a thing as a Mutt Mitt is something of a curiosity, asked what I was up to. I suggested flippantly that everybody should fill their pockets with bags so I wouldn’t have to pick any more up for a while. Then there was a bit of fumbling around getting Baby Dog into her stroller without letting Doggy Dog off his leash just yet because we were still by the parking lot. Then there were various detours to the bathroom. And then at last we were off through the 21 acres of off-leash doggie heaven. When we got to the bridge to the south side of the estuary, my dad, whose knees are starting to get a bit creaky, decided to sit things out at the picnic table in the shade. The rest of us walked on to the point, gamely rattling the baby carriage up slope and down ditch. Mama Dog was able to identify every plant my mother asked after along the way – apparently there are different species of them, just like with animals – and Doggy Dog found many friends to chase around without overtly harassing any of them as far as we could see. Baby Dog slumbered on under the blanket jury rigged over the carriage to shield her from the sun. When we finished the circuit of the south side, Doggy Dog raced ahead to meet up with my dad because even after just a day’s acquaintance he knows who’s with the pack and who isn’t. The entire trek was conducted with Doggy Dog on best behaviour, right up until the end, when he stood stoically and endured the ritual hosing of Bay sediments from his undercarriage.

We split up again back at the parking lot, ladies in one car and gents in the other. Mama Dog wanted to stop at Toot Sweets for pastries while we took the dog straight home. When we got home, I unloaded two bulging pockets full of Mutt Mitts onto the kitchen table. My dad came in an silently added the haul he and my mother had taken while I wasn’t looking…the pile of Mutt Mitts suddenly tripled. The kitchen table was heaped with slick white poop bags. When Mama Dog got home and saw the mountain degradable plastic, her jaw dropped. “That’s what happens when you tell three member of my family that something’s free,” I said. “That’s nothing but good Scots thrift.”


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