I looked at the thermometer by the door. It was pitch black outside, and the tiny little red line hovered on 28 degrees. Lulu was dancing in place as I opened the door to begin our walk – her eyes bright with “walking delight” – our version of the Sky Rockets song. I could walk her at 10PM or 4AM, the response and joy were always the same.
In this case, it was 4AM. I have begun a new job with an hour commute, so my days begin very early now. They begin that early for Lu. I’ve always felt I have a commitment to her. She has a sitter that let’s her out at lunch, but I could not imagine living a life stuck in a house all day, so I walk her early, and getting home late, she usually gets another pitch black walk at night. The exercise is good for both of us. I’m the lightest I’ve been since youth, and she is happy and settled.
I plunged out the door and immediately begin jogging, attempting to build heat fast in the frosty morning air. Lulu trotted ahead, her head telescoping right to left – always on the hunt. I guess she can see things I cannot, and as we passed a mass of brush close to the side of the road, she leapt into it and seized a small mouse. I yelled, she dropped, and we continued along our route.
I felt the first raindrop, but continued on down the asphalt, breath rising from my head and in front of my feet. A light mist was fine as long as we kept moving quickly. Suddenly, the bucket tipped, and it felt as if someone had literally ripped open the heavens. We were about a mile out, and we both turned as one and begin sprinting with our heads down.
Lulu HATES the rain, and as I gained speed I was abruptly jerked to a stop as Lulu shook and tried to charge under a low hanging tree. She wanted out of the rain. I yelled and drug her out, and we begin sprinting again. Several seconds later, I was almost jerked off my feet again as she shook, and then looked around frantically for some type of refuge. In frustration, I grabbed my 35 pound dig, heaved her over my shoulder, and began a “fast walk” back towards the house.
Typically, she squirms violently when lifted off the ground, but this time she huddled against me and whimpered. We made it maybe 200 yards before I had to put her down. At this point I was dripping wet, and beginning to chill, so I moved out into the middle of the road, away from tempting bushes, and ran fast.
A few minutes later, Lu spotted the driveway, and took off like a streak. We turned onto the dirt road, sloshing through freezing puddles as we headed for the house. I came through the door of the mud room, as Lulu waited shivering for me to towel her dry. The shivering burnt as much energy as the run, so I knew she would sleep well until her sitter arrived for the day.
I left the shower and walked across the kitchen to Lu’s bed. She was sound asleep. It really is amazing what we do for our canine companions happiness.