Four Legged Walkers


Walking is good for you.
Hunter, our little puppy dog who is ancient, Tunester, the cat who just moved his ass in here and has decided to stay, and me, yours truly, take a few strolls each day.
I do appreciate their enthusiasm.
However, I am going to come right out and say it whether it is PC or not.
Four legged walkers are shitty walkers.
That is why I try to ignore them.
It always starts out the same.
We are gathered in the kitchen.
I get my cup of coffee brewing.
Then I say, "Okay. Who wants to go for a walk?"
They scramble to the door.

Actually, let me back up.
They have been sitting in front of the door the whole time watching me.
And not quietly.
This is after they have already come crashing into the bedroom to get me out from under the covers.
First I hear the clicking of Hunter's nails on the wood floor.
That means they are coming down the hallway.
I close my eyes tight.
Then his sidekick, the one in the tuxedo, hops up onto the bed and goes straight for my face with his whiskers.
I don't know how they know it is nine o'clock.
I am a morning person.
I always have been.
It has been my favorite part of the day ever since I was a kid.
But I haven't seen a sunrise since I retired a year ago.
Not unless you count the one last summer that I saw after staying up all night at the campfire with Alvin because we decided at one point to wait for the sun to come up. And when it did I was looking the wrong way.
"It's over there," he says, pointing at a bit of light across the street at the tops of the trees.
"That's it?" I said. "I thought it was going to come up on the lake."
"That would be west," he said. "That is where the sun went down."
"Well I am not a fucking compass," I said. And went to bed.
And I did not feel well the whole day.
Hunter and Tuna follow me out of the bedroom and into the bathroom.
Which is really not that big.
I make them both breakfast.
I add a little cheese.
I hold their water bowls under the faucet.
I pull out a bunch of pills for the canine and I stuff them inside hot dog pieces that no human would ever consume.
Not even me.
I am a vegetarian.
Well, deep down inside I am a vegetarian.
It's just that I like meat.
I am doubly cursed.
I am a vegetarian morning person who sleeps in three hours after the sun rises every day and who eats every kind of meat there is except really shitty hot dogs.
We are almost ready for our walk now.
I stuff my hair under a hat.
Zip up my jacket.
Tie my shoes.
Open the door.
From the outside it has to look like Hunter and Tuna are being blasted out of the house with a very large potato gun.
I calmly walk out the door and close it behind us.
I turn around and the yard is always clear of any critters and the bird feeder is always swinging violently.
For the first few minutes of our stroll we are all on the same page.
We are one.
We are Zen.
The day has just begun.
We are full of hope and we are full of zest.
It is our number one walk of the day.
And my coffee is piping hot.
Tuna cannot stay on the ground for very long.
Hunter cannot pass up a puddle.
And God forbid if a deer runs through.
It is more like herding cats and dogs than taking a walk.
One minute you are making your way along in a nice little group having a pleasant conversation and the next thing you know you turn around you and realize that you have been talking to nobody.
Like that's not embarrassing.
The squirrels around here think I am nuts.
And then all of a sudden they are back and they practically trip you up trying to take the lead.
One is soaking wet and the other is full of pine needles.
"Uh-oh. A rabbit just shot out from under a pine tree."
Holy shit.
It doesn't have to be this hard.
The path is pretty clear.


Hunter and Tuna are walkers.
And I am an early rising vegetarian.


Has anybody seen Tuna?

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