I thought I was going to leave today (Wednesday, March 9th), but yesterday afternoon turned absolutely glorious here in Portland, Oregon. Mild air, sunshine: spring was definitely “in the air.”
In the morning, Diana was out and I took both dogs to the dog park. It was a snap walking there – Puszca is always well-mannered on her leash, but I wasn’t sure how puppy boy would do. Dare I say perfect? Sure. He was perfect. They both walked beside me – Puszca on left, Max on right – with no pulling or tugging.
At the park, they raced around together for a while until Max spotted another dog playing ball. The magic toy. The call of the wild. The Holy Grail of any dog park. Abandoning his girlfriend, he took off at full gallop for the ball game! He had fun chasing, mostly snatching the ball away from the jaws of its rightful owner, and returning it to the dog’s owner to throw again. When I realized that she wasn’t that thrilled with him stealing her dog’s fun, I tried to leash him up to go home.
Of course, he spotted the leash in my left hand and would NOT come anywhere near me. Like a wild mustang, he’d gallop up to where she was standing, then veer off in a big loping circle so I couldn’t snag him! This went on for a few minutes, when I managed to catch him and started to snap the leash on. Like a shot, he was loose again and off after the ball.
Meanwhile, every time I caught his collar and restrained him from running after the ball, his muddy paws left tracks on the cuffs of my new (light fawn colored) corduroy pants! Why would an otherwise sensible dog owner wear those pants to the dog park in Portland, Oregon after days of rain?
I finally got the leash on, and Puszca and I walked the quicksilver escape artist out of the park. Once again, Max was muddy to his armpits. Puszca was pristine. She didn’t run through mud to catch a grubby, muddy ball. She was dignified. I’m quite sure Max would say she didn’t have any fun.
Just as we approached the house, a car slowed beside us – Diana, returning from her appointment. Rolling down the passenger window she said how cute we three looked walking down the street. With her great help, we got Max spiffed up in no time.
After a leisurely lunch: her homemade carrot/ginger soup, a frittata with caramelized onions, asparagus, olives, and walnuts, romaine lettuce salad, and red wine, we decided to walk down to the café about three blocks away for an afternoon pick-me-up: lattés and apple hand pies – what we back home call turnovers. Both dogs waited (somewhat patiently in Max’s case) while we went inside to order. Returning, we sat on a bench in the sun and savored both the good treats, and the glory of a spring afternoon.
Around 5 PM, we headed across town to Joan’s house for wine and cheese – “before your friend leaves us!” I was happy to meet one of Diana’s best friends and her husband, Dick, who is ailing right now. Her Shetland Sheepdog, Henry, allowed Max to come inside, where Henry totally ignored the big guy. Not a problem, Max found the dog toys…
He had great fun with a yellow squeaky bone, trotting around through the living room into the hall, through the kitchen, and back – squeaking all the while. When we three women went into the living room to sit and talk, he lay at my feet, contentedly gnawing on the “bone.” Within 20 minutes, he had chewed a hole in one end, and I offered to replace it.
“Don’t be silly!” Joan answered. “Henry doesn’t even play with it.” I’m starting to realize just what a big puppy Max still is. It’s hard to find an indestructible toy for him. He’s in a big dog body with a puppy mind!
Imagine if we all held onto a “puppy mind?” We would be playful, creative, happy, carefree… truly joyous and in the moment. On that note, I thought I’d stay on one more day in Portland. Diana and I were planning to go to Mt. St. Helens, but it turns out not to be open on Tuesdays in the winter.
Plan B: We’ll have breakfast, I’ll load my car, and we’ll go to the Japanese Gardens before Max and I hit the road in the general direction of home – which is a long way off…