Monday, April 02, 2007

Things That go Bump in the Night ...

I believe that most people are born either owls or wrens -- that is, night people or day folk. Yeah, you can learn to do the other if need be, but left alone, not slaved to a clock, one's natural biorhythms kick in.

A word or two of advice for those of you considering marriage and children. Marry your opposite. It might seem better to match an owl if that's what you are, but trust me, with kids, especially when they get sick, you need a shift change. If the child is a wren and you and your spouse are both owls? Somebody is gonna have to get up, whereas if you have an owl/wren combo, one of you won't mind getting up early and the other won't mind staying up late.

Me, I'm an owl. I've had jobs where I had to be up at five and at work by six a.m. and I could do them, but if I lived alone, I expect I'd be going to bed about dawn and getting up around supper time. One of the vampire crowd.

For years, I walked the dogs at midnight. With the German Shepherds, this was both choice and necessity -- we never properly trained them, and they always carried on when they saw another dog, barking, lunging, and generally behaving like, well German Shepherd Dogs:

"Wolf!" they warned me. "Look, it's a wolf, it's a wolf -- !"

"No," I'd say, "it's not a wolf, it's a miniature poodle!"

"No, wolf, wolf ! Look! Look! Are you blind! Yes, it's small and has white curly hair, but IT'S A WOLF!"

With a pair of dogs who, together outweighed my two hundred pounds, having them hit the end of the leashes frothing was not a pleasant experience. On a rainy day, you could water ski behind them. I have a scar on the web of my left hand where I caught the edge of a Flexi-Lead once and sliced the flesh like a sharp knife.

At midnight in my neighborhood, I seldom ran into another dog walker, so I didn't have to deal with all the hubbub.

Of course, I didn't know until that habit pattern was well-set that avoiding other dogs was exactly the wrong thing to do to cure mine of their bad behavior. One reason why big, smart dogs are not always the best with which to get your dog-learner's permit -- they'll run you.

Live and learn.

The Cogis, being both people- and dog-friendly usually get walked earlier, so that we will see other dogs and get used to the idea. That's working so far.

But tonight I did a midnight run with Jude and Layla. The reason was pragmatic -- my wife is out of town, and she normally gets up at five a.m., being a wren, and the dogs rise with her.
Since I have no intention of getting up at that ungodly hour to feed and play with happy critters, I figured a late-night stroll would wear them out enough so they'd sleep in ...

Being a night person, strolling through the park at midnight under a full moon is comfortable for me. Some folks worry about things that go bump in the night; not me -- I'm one of those things. I feel right at home skulking in the shadows. I even did it professionally for some years as a private eye.

I saw an old hippie walking his dogs in the park at midnight, and his hair was ...

Well, short. A short-haired hippie?

1 comment:

steve-vh said...

I have that same flexi-lead scar on my calf from when we got our first Kai. Stopped using that and got some professional training. Probably us more than the dogs. I use a 20' training lead now if I'm going to let them roam and sniff.
Just had our first litter of pups so I guess that makes us breeders now.