The Reason I’m Glad I Stopped to Smell the Flowers

My routine was off today. I got distracted with work and emails and life, and before I knew it, it was 11 am. I like to walk Brody in the morning while it’s still cool out, so we rarely find ourselves out in the midday sun where it gets really hot, really fast.

I debated whether I should still go. Brody solemnly sat on my shoes and breathed on me until I decided that the decision wasn’t really up to me- this was a dog who wanted some air. He gets so excited when he sees the leash, like he’s at the gates of Disneyland for the first time, each and every time we go for a walk.

Knowing it was warm, we kept to the grass and the streets with bigger shade canopies. I detoured from my usual route, because a field to the right had erupted into a carpet of yellow blooms and I couldn’t resist the obligatory photo op:

WHY I'M GLAD

Color is so rare in our brown, drought parched part of the world. It really was lovely.

Having veered off course, we continued down the alternate street, one we rarely explore, and that is when I encountered Peaches. Peaches was an older English bulldog, cruising around the cul-de-sac without a care in the world and not a person in sight.

If you know bulldogs, you know two things they like to do: overheat and die. While this heat and direct sunlight can be slightly uncomfortable for us, it can be killer for dogs like Peaches, so I plunked down on the sidewalk and tried to call her owner, whose number (but not address) was listed on the tag. No answer.

With no other good alternative, I grabbed Brody’s leash in one hand and Peaches’ collar in the other and squat-walked up and down the street until we found someone who was home (yay quad workout). “Peaches!” he said. “That’s my neighbor’s dog.”

I learned something else about bulldogs today, namely that when one senses a grand adventure is winding to a close, they can run like the dickens. I am ashamed to admit I came close to being outrun by a geriatric bulldog today, but Brody broke wide and herded her back into the driveway, where we managed to get her back into the shady courtyard. My neighbor assured me he could get her in from there, and Brody and I continued on our way.

I spent a lot of time wondering how much of our lives are random and how many little details just fall into place. There is a good likelihood that had we not walked by, Peaches would have gotten bored and wandered back home on her own. She might have suffered in the heat. All I know is that now I can be sure she won’t.

At the end of the day I think we are defined more by the sum of our little actions more than the grand overall thread of what the world sees. It’s what happens each day when we follow a small errant thread and tuck it back into place, whether it’s the smush faced dog running around in the midday sun or the elderly person needing help bringing their groceries in. The world moves just as much through a million tiny earthquakes as it does the one Big Shake. And sometimes, just a bit, it’s nice to think that the universe puts us right where we’re needed the most.

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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