Sometimes, Rosa Parks happily joins me for a walk. The big dog, Darla, knows that the pace will be slower and the distance shorter, but she’s okay with that. She’s learned to enjoy having the little dog along, and – like me – feels a little lost and guilty when we leave her at home. When Rosa Parks is enthusiastic about walking, she’s a tail-wagging joy to have around.
Sometimes, Rosa Parks is reluctant. She needs to be coaxed to come along for the walk. I grab a handful of kibble before we leave the house, to lure her to the end of the driveway. I often have to carry her across the road and onto the trail to get her into the spirit of the adventure. Now and then I drive the dogs down to Fox Lake, or Hannigan Road, or another remote location to begin our walk. Then, the little dog is unable to run back to her own porch to sit and wait, so she stays with me, and gets her exercise whether she’s in the mood for it or not.
Sometimes, the little dog simply, stubbornly, refuses to go for a walk. She will snuggle down into the cushions of the couch when I suggest it, or adamantly stay on the porch as we make our way down the driveway. If I carry her to the road, she bolts for home as soon as I put her down.
On the day before opening day of our firearm deer season, I thought a good long walk was in order. There are fewer opportunities to get out in the woods once the hunter’s have staked their ground. I didn’t want to drive to Fox Lake; the boat launch has limited paths and walkways for getting a good walk in. Hannigan Road, Cotter’s Trail and the other trail back to the cabin behind me – all fine walks in other times of the year – are off limits during hunting season. There are people testing their weapons for accuracy. Hunters frown on dogs disrupting the normal movement of deer, so close to opening day. We would walk down the Fox lake Road.
With a flash of blaze orange around the neck of the fawn-colored big dog, we headed up the driveway. Rosa Parks wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but treats offered every few yards kept her coming. Darla was enthusiastic, and headed right down the road. Rosa Parks sat down. Sometimes, when she doesn’t get the response she wants – when I don’t go back to pick her up and carry her, or if we don’t turn back and give up on the walk altogether (which is rewarded by a little dance and joyous tear around the yard by Miss Rosa Parks) – she eventually catches up. Not that day. She feigned deafness as I called, coaxed and cajoled her.
Rosa Parks was not swayed. I finally walked her back to the house, settled her royally on the cushion with the suggestion that she rest and – if she felt up to it – “take good care of things.” Darla and I took a nice long walk, without the stubborn little dog.