I took Blue up to a forest road off the Gunflint Trail for the third day in a row. It’s been quite a while since I walked in the woods with that dog, and it was nice to spend time with her.
We went to the same road each time because it was easy, and it’s the time of year when 24 hours makes a huge difference in the amount of spring green that’s showing– and because I figured that with all the changes my divorce has had on the dog, something familiar would be a good thing.
She loosened up sooner this time– excited and amped up, still a true Weimaraner needing to Run So Fast– but that wild edge wasn’t there. She came back right away when I called. She ran ahead but not away.
I told her she was a good dog– the goodest and the prettiest– because she is, and because I love to tell the people and places and animals I love that I love them.
This might sound like something sad, or a consolation prize: to walk the dog I said I did not want/could not manage solo. But it didn’t feel that way. It felt like spending time with a friend, albeit a sort of toddler-gladiator-distance runner friend: Blue has her own life, her own energy and smarts and things to work on. She’s not here for me to “save,” which is something I felt pretty intensely about the pets I had when I was younger. She’s resilient and gritty, and I think she’s ok without me, and I’m ok without her.
But she’s still the best companion in a stretch of grouse habitat. To see her sense something chaseable, going instantly from constant motion to still as stone– I like that. I like to try to ride that tailwind of her dogness, and I like how she’s right, every single time. Long after I’ve given up staring into the trees, she holds her point, stalks closer, until the inevitable explosion: a beating of wings and four paws racing through the woods.