dogs · Poetry · story

Dog Joy

Dog hurtles joy

Darts, dashes, feints across field

Flashing, looping home

She pierced early morning drowse with a short whistle blast and commanding “Bailey!” I heard her long before I came upon the field where she stood, hands on hips, toddler in the stroller behind her, watching the dog flash across the field in wide arcs, heading further and further away.

It was training: dog let off leash into empty field, urged to run from point to point in wide, arcing sprints, returning to her whistle. Again and again, the dog tore across the field, racing round the landmark tree, big rock, fluffy pink bush, fence post. The child clapped hands and laughed at full-on, all-in joy.

I walked past them to the beach, rounding the flagpole in the center of the parking lot. Coming back toward their field, I heard the child wailing, the woman yelling “Bailey!” in a no-nonsense, totally useless way because the dog had broken the rules and was now a small blur racing into a private neighborhood.

Moments later, peace was restored. Bailey was leashed, the woman was pushing the carriage, alternating thanking the stranger who captured Bailey and scolding the dog (for doing exactly what she encouraged him to do).

Who was being trained? Bailey the dog, the woman, the child? All of them?Why?

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