Oh, nothing beats a walk with a dog. That is because dogs are felicitous creatures, alert and eager to protect and earn friends. There was a time when a man of the walking persuasion chose a dog chaperone out of fear of highwaymen, hordes of sullen street urchins, and wild vermin. That time has passed. And yet a dog still signals to my soft and kindly neighbors: do not contend with me, unless you’ve got a sizeable dog to contend with my own. And do not think your dogs will gain you an advantage as mine will occupy them. Look how he strains at his collar.

This psychology is at work despite that my dog is a lazy, promiscuous rascal, as likely to go home with a stick-up artist as myself, were we to do battle. He looks identical to a creature who would tear the face off a rabid mountain lion and we live, alas, in a world of surfaces.

I am a variegated mutt of a million persuasions and I carry on my chromosomes alleles from a variety of pacers, themselves accompanied by canines big and small, squatty and elegant, tawny and a thousand divergences from tawny. They were the dogs of their respective men, bred more or less as they chose and parceled out by chieftains, a puppy to a little boy. They lived either on the makeshift skins arranged for children or in crappy kennels walled with sticks. They aided the hunt in their crippled half-abilities and in return ate scraps, bones and tough leg steaks that our scavengers’ guts could not handle and still can’t

And when they walked they pissed. Dog piss kills vegetables of all variety; it is ammoniac; they can save it for weeks and dare not waste it on a rose that got the same urine yesterday. I walk along annoyed at this fact, impatient for David Hasselhoff — the fellow in question — to drop his liquid already. But he knows it’s important business. He tinkles like it’s his job. And so it is. Wolf piss keeps the wolves at bay.

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