Chloe’s Springtime Step

It didn’t take long for Chloe to recognize me after her long hibernation. After few months of cold weather, she was as anxious as any (dog) could be to get out of the house. She seemed happy and a little less puppy-ish since I saw her last. The only problem she has been experiencing, really, is … me. Recognizing my 6-foot frame slugging about from across the road isn’t the issue. Her eyesight is sharp. Catching a waft of the meaty concession trailer smell drifting off my work clothes upwind from her pug-beagle nose isn’t the issue, either. I make no sudden moves, speak no ill-timed or unkind words to her, or walk googly-crossed, human limpy as I approach. She’s decided – in her furry little canine cranium – I am nuts.

Such was the case yesterday. This was a similar reaction she, surprisingly, had going into last fall when I thought the two of us were doggo-Doug-o sympatico. Toward the end of the summer of 2020, this slightly lighter in heft puppy started to react differently to me. Less neighborly, shall I say. We were pals … then we weren’t. She switched a switch … pulled a puppy lever in her brain. The run to Doug with fevered enthusiasm knob fused out, I guess. Not only did it burn out, it also triggered a rash of opposing phrases including: “Run from man!” and “Shake in fear at end of leash!”…

I did something I can’t rectify. I’d like to have a heart to heart talk with this animal. If I possessed the powers of a Dolittle, perhaps a solution would be possible. As of this moment, there’s little I can do … but try.

So, try I did yesterday. Once again, walking across the street to a heavier, hibernated, happy-to see-everyone but me chompy little brown ball of energy known as Chloe. She likes her stick pieces, her two adult owners – neighbors across the way – and her friendly dog pals who walk by every so often. Yes, everyone. Every dog, tree, wind gust, blade of grass, person on the freakin’ planet, … shall I go on?

If I seem a bit bitter about all this … I may be, however, she’s kinda cute and I’ll put up with being ignored and misunderstood. There’s no need for my ego to be stroked by a little semi-puppy living a few yards away who happens to still be a favorite of mine … even though she’s upset with me for some irrational reason. I deal with illogical ideas and suggestions 24/7 and have conversations with invisible clones who constantly argue with me inside my head, so a four-legged fur-ball giving me a little grief for no reason isn’t too much for me to handle.

I’d like her to like me again, though. A few snap shots from feet away – then cropped for the purposes of a blog – aren’t enough. Kneeling down in front of that face in 3D, real time, would be kinda’ better. Granted, Chloe doesn’t owe me a darn thing. Her life isn’t revolving around a big Doug sun here. She’s not my dog, but she’s a neighbor … a friend I’d like to have around for a while.

I think we made some progress yesterday. Small, but forward.

It was a really nice day for a change. A small 24-hour walk into spring was a welcome relief for all of us regardless of my relationship snags with the little stinker. She did allow me a few moments close by … sitting on the front steps petting her head. Ever so cautious, she was. Chloe’s springtime step of 2021 in my direction, I suppose.

We will meet many times this fair weather season. My clothes and smells won’t change much. Chloe, most likely, is bound to take her place at the end of a pretty leash a few yards away – across a calm street where other dogs will be passing by. Dogs I don’t know as well, but canine-friendlies not as finicky as Ms. Pugslie-Beagilo … with her slightly contentious attitude toward me.

Even with that, I wouldn’t change a thing. Chloe is pretty cool. I like a bit of mystery. After all, she’s recognizing me with all my crazy, too. Maybe, just maybe, we’re just right for each other and she’s shy. Yeah, that’s it.

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