Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Autumn Walks

It's different walking the dogs in the autumn. It's a whole different world out there to the world of the summer that was here just a couple of weeks ago.

The streets look different in their covering of leaves. Now that the calendar has officially changed seasons and Summer has decided to take a step back from her steady heat, hot sun and dry earth, the leaves are falling with a vengeance. The pavement is covered with them and as we walk along, the crisp crunch sounds under our feet.

The puppies, of course, are in heaven. They like to stick their nose in a pile of leaves and then lift it back up vigorously and with a tilt. This sends the leaves flying in all directions. Better yet, Rory has taken to divebombing piles of leaves if she has the space and the speed. It's rather cute. She usually manages to shake off the leaves that are clinging to her fur after a few steps down the street.

Sookie tends to be more thoughtful about it. She waits for Rory to explore leave piles first and then when Rory's done her thing, Sookie has a good sniff.

Autumn also means that people are spending a little less time outside in the evenings. It gets dark much earlier now and so we have to walk earlier. There are still some people outside, starting the process of clearing the dried up flowers from summer or sweeping their driveways free from leaves but, mostly, it's a lot quieter than it was during the summer.

We still see a few neighbours but not as many as we did. It's been ages since I saw Larry the Potential Serial Killer. I don't mind too much because he was always a bit odd but it makes our walks a little more solitary when we don't see anyone.

What we are seeing is squirrels. There are squirrels galore on our walk. Our favourite spot to see them is what I have deemed the "Mothership." This is a giant oak tree in someone's garden in which at least a couple of squirrels can be found gathering their acorns for the winter. The ground beneath the oak is messy with squashed and flattened acorns, whole acorns, twigs and leaves. There are even the leavings of squirrels who clearly decided to sample the wears before gathering food for the winter storage.

Naturally, Rory and Sookie go balistic at the sight of the squirrels. They still have yet to figure out that dogs can't climb trees, even when said dog is in pursuit of a squirrel. I'm just glad I have sturdy leashes and harnesses on the hounds because otherwise, I'd have lost them to the Mothership days ago.

The other thing that's different is that the neighbourhood is starting to look decidedly adorned for Halloween. Ghosts, witches and black cats are popping up all over the place. They hang from porches, lampposts, shepherd's crooks. There's a problem with the black cats, I'm finding. While my puppies are adorable and can be quite crafty and sneaky, they're not always the brightest. Thus, they have yet to figure out that the black cats aren't actually alive. The worst are in a garden just down the street. They're just the silhouettes of the cat. They're lifesized. To a human, they're clearly not real. To a puppy well...I imagine since they haven't had that much interaction with cats, they do look real. They clearly look real enough to merit my dogs going into hunting mode. This means that the leash suddenly goes taut, their ears go up and they're poised, ready to make a dash for it. This has now happened several times. They've yet to learn that they're not real.

I don't really mind. It makes the walk fun and I quite like having a pattern. I do like seeing all the decorations popping up. I have yet to wind my own garland of silk autumn leaves around my little lamppost in the front garden and my little scarecrows aren't outside yet. This weekend I hope to add my own festive display to the others in the neighbourhood.

I think I'll avoid black cats though. I can only imagine the constant chaos if the puppies were to see them.

It's bad enough with the squirrels.

Happy Thursday!

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