Walking is good exercise. Getting a half- hour walk every day is regularly recommended by health professionals, and I have been trying to follow that advice. Most of the time, I just go out for a walk in my neighborhood and follow one of two routines: one, ponder the events of the day and try to think through any current problems; or, two, observe and contemplate all the people and activities I encounter while walking.
Doing the latter, I usually come across a woman walking her dog. Different women, different dogs, but it is usually a woman. Sometimes a man will accompany her. However, for whatever reason, I seldom see a man by himself walking his dog.
What usually happens is that the woman and the dog will go along, the dog sniffing here and there, and finally stopping somewhere to do his business. Then, an interesting thing happens. The woman takes a clear plastic bag, folds it around her hand, and reaches down and gathers up the droppings, folding the bag around them so they are encased in the bag, and then carries the bag with her as they proceed on their walk.
I realize, of course, that the woman is being a good citizen. People should clean up after their dogs. But I have to ask myself: Is there any other creature on earth for whom the woman would perform this task? If it is true that a dog is a man’s best friend, then it must surely also be true that a woman is a dog’s best friend. How could one more eloquently demonstrate one’s devotion to her dog?
And then, as I watch the woman continue on her way, the dog leash in one hand and her new acquisition, in its clear plastic bag, swinging back and forth in the other, I wonder, “What does the dog think about all of this?” If you were in the dog’s position, wouldn’t you wonder?
I suppose the dog’s reasoning goes something like this: “Every day we go out, and every day the same thing happens. When I relieve myself, she gathers it up and takes it with her. It must be valuable! Does she take it to the grocery store and exchange it for dog food? What a logical arrangement that would be. Or maybe she accumulates it until she has enough to exchange it for something important, like a new dog dish or the latest flea collar. Could it be worth big bucks? Shouldn’t I be getting royalties on this? Is she just using me?”
Anyway, after imagining these things, my mind usually wanders to the news of the day and world events. There is an ongoing crisis in Washington over the national debt and annual deficits; the war in Afghanistan is problematical; Greece is about to go bankrupt and threaten the economy of Europe; because of the weather, the corn crop may fail this year; another politician is involved with an intern; the Cubs are struggling, as usual; Iran is about to acquire nuclear weapons; things are tense in the Middle East, and so forth.
Ah, well. Sometimes it is better to just consider things from the perspective of a dog.