How Do They Know? – by Patricia O’Rourke

Here’s how it starts.  It’s early; I’m sitting by the woodstove, sipping my tea and reading.  Often the stove is going, out where I live, near the coast, so I’m cozy.  Warm stove, hot tea, book, jammies, slippers; you get the idea. Cozy.

Slowly something starts to disturb this idyllic scene.  I become aware that he is staring at me.  Of course he stares, it comes with the breed, but usually, at this time of day, he’s a bit more relaxed, even asleep.  Not today.

hdtk-1I look up, make eye contact. My first mistake.  He jumps to his feet, ratcheting up the Power of the Stare, maybe even adding a bit of vocalization.  Nothing so crass as a bark, oh no.  Just a chewy kind of yowl.

He’s using his blue eye, his Pilot Eye.  According to an old rancher woman I know, that’s the one they use on the stubborn steers or recalcitrant rams.  (Also, apparently, on oblivious owners.)  The Eye that Gets Things Done.

And you know what? It works.  I get up, change my clothes, get the boots on and we’re off.

What is all this about, you ask? For more than two years, we have gone to the same off-leash beach with a large friendly pack of dogs and humans, on the same day, same time, every week.  This is that day, and somehow, in the way dogs do, Roscoe knows it.

hdtk-4Roscoe meets up with all his canine friends and runs for 2 hours. The dogs run, chase each other, balls and birds.  We humans throw the balls, laugh at the dogs, and hand out treats whenever the dogs come by.

hdtk-5Seals, all types of birds, and the occasional whale or dolphin are our companions.  Strange,seasonal sea life washes onto the beach with the changing tides.


Picture it:  Beautiful beach, fresh salt breeze, boon companions both human and canine – it’s the best day of the week.


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