Monday, November 28, 2011

Guest Author Day with Gwen Campbell

The Look

A couple mornings ago, the alarm didn’t go off. Well, it did go off but the volume had drifted to nil (one of the hazards of hanging onto a clock radio for more than five years). Fortunately, my bladder is a fairly reliable clock.
Not the best sensation in the world…waking up with a full bladder then realizing you’re forty-five minutes late.
I immediately switched to high-prioritization mode, which shocked and impressed me to no end. My husband’s the one with the day job and I’m his chauffeur, so while he jumped in the shower, I threw on yesterday’s clothes and took the dog out for the shortest walk ever.
A bit of background here. Four years ago, we adopted a rescued dog. He’s terrific, but he has some quirks. One being urination and defecation are community bulletin board events. Meaning he’ll hold everything in until his eyes turn purple before he’ll do his business in our nice, private, fenced backyard, where nobody else can scent his manly presence. (And this from a neutered, senior dog.)
Okay, back to my story. The Big Black Dog (BBD) as we affectionately refer to him, thinks me tearing down the stairs, grabbing whichever coat has poop-bags in the pocket, and hooking up his collar and leash is an okay variation in the routine. Usually, my husband has the luxury of time (meaning yeah I know I take the longest showers humanly possible and the local water department sends me a fruit basket every Christmas) to spend with the BBD. During this early a.m. quality time, they chat about guy stuff, the BBD gets some treats, they take a leisurely walk, yadda, yadda.
This morning, I’m staggering out in the cold, bed head hair flopping in the wind. (Good thing the BBD has never minded morning breath.) So we get to the corner, he’s blissfully peed on one or two select trees, and I stop to tell him we’re going back.
Uh, no.
He holds his ground, legs braced, and doesn’t move. And at eighty-eight pounds, that’s a lot of doesn’t.
That’s when I get…the look.
The first one is him glancing over his shoulder at me, telegraphing the message “Surely you’re mistaken.” This is the morning walk, you see. Twenty minutes, minimum, of him sniffing, peeing, listening and looking around in the darkness. Twenty minutes of hedonistic dog time. So, of course, I’m mistaken about going back at this point.
I’m not. I repeat the command, trying for a firmer voice this time, which isn’t easy because morning breath has stuck parts of my tongue to the roof of my mouth.
That’s when I get…THE look.
Oh boy. This one says “No thank you very much we’re continuing on. To turn back now would be a complete rip-off, and against all known rules of man, nature and decency.”
If I had testicles, they would have shriveled.

But I don’t. I’m the boss. He’s the dog. Despite his indignation, it’s his nature to be obedient. He trusts me. I trust him. So, after a second or two of head and tail held at angles that clearly communicate his annoyance, he follows me back home.
Per usual, the BBD rides in the car with us when I take my husband to work. There’s some nice lawns and landscaping there and the BBD has never met an evergreen he didn’t love to pee on. It’s a special treat for him to be let out of the car and walked around there, and the BBD deserves a special treat today. Besides, I’d rather him pee on the company’s azaleas than my back seat.
Once we’re back home, the sky’s just starting to brighten and the BBD and I head out for a REAL walk. We cruise the sidewalks, he sniffs whatever he wants to, and we head for the small forest nearby. Because of the hour, there are actually other dog walkers out and about by then. We come across Little Max and his mum. (Max’s name is actually just Max, but there is more than one Max in the neighbourhood, so we need to differentiate. This Max is small, fluffy, white, and has the heart of a lion, so we don’t call him Little Max to his face.)
I wind up telling Little Max’s mum about our morning, and about The Look. She gets what I’m saying immediately, and tells me she’s been the recipient of a few herself. It makes me feel a whole lot less guilty when I realize every dog loves their routines, hates to be ripped off, and if you’ve invested enough time, patience and love in your dog, they’ll forgive and forget even the grossest breaches in the rules of man, nature, and decency.
I’m Gwen Campbell and I’d be tickled to have you drop me a line at If you visit my website, you’ll find a few pictures of the BBD (aka Lad) at

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