My dog wants to say hello, she told me. I looked from her to her dog. It was a strange moment. I mean, how often does someone stop you on the street to make introductions…to their dog? Wish I’d said something clever like, Oh, I’d hoped the attraction was mutual, or at least pulled out my phone for a selfie. Come to think of it, why didn’t I?
The woman explained. She noticed you earlier at the other end of the street. And when she saw you now she got excited. She likes you. I can tell. She patted her rump affectionately – the dog’s rump.
The dog was big. Shepherd mostly. Seeing me give her the once-over, she wagged her tail and smiled. Well, anyway, it looked like a smile. But then she did have a ball in her mouth so I could have been mistaken. I remembered meeting these two on the street earlier. Even though everyone here was a stranger to me, the woman and her dog had stood out from the crowd.
It had been a sunny hit the road kind of day and I’d gravitated to one of my favourite spots. Parked my car on a side street, and hoofed it down the main thoroughfare of charming Wortley Village. The smell of coffee wafted out to the sidewalk from the busy cafes. The robust aroma and the nippy air were exhilarating.
Something else made me feel good. It was the people on the street. Everyone offered a greeting in passing. I love that. Is that common practice everywhere? Maybe I should drive less and walk more. But still, these people seemed genuinely friendly. It had the effect of slowing me down. What’s the rush anyway? Daytripping isn’t about how many places you can drive through in a day, it’s about getting acquainted, or re-visiting distinctive boutiques and other attractions.
Speaking of shops, one proprietor offered me a cappuccino while I browsed her accessories. I offered to pay for it along with my purchase, but she insisted it was part of the experience. Lovely!
I meandered here and there, back and forth, from one side of the street to the other. My only disappointment being the library. It was closed. Everywhere I visit, that’s my focal point. My sanctuary. During a tour of Charleston, South Carolina, I passed up an outing one day so I could spend a few hours at their library. It was great. After a week of travel, it grounded me.
Where was I? Oh yes, the woman and her dog.
I couldn’t help but notice them earlier because she was carrying the long-handled ball thrower and Fido – can’t believe I never asked the dog’s name – carried the ball. Cute. So later, when I saw them emerge from the park, I instinctively smiled. That’s when she approached me on her dog’s behalf.
I first offered the back of my hand to her nose – the dog’s nose – before touching the top of her warm head. I ruffled her neck and scratched behind her ears. Again, this is the dog.
They know, don’t they, I said to the woman. Dogs sense people who like animals. She agreed. Cats know, too, I was quick to point out. Except they pursue the ones who don’t care for them. If there’s one cat hater in the crowd, it’s that lap the little fur ball will land on. We walked up the street a ways, the three of us, before I said good-bye with an affectionate coo. That was for the pooch, of course.
Looking back on that afternoon getaway, no matter how much I enjoyed the friendly greetings from passersby, the unexpected cappuccino – not to mention the unique ring I bought – the highlight of my visit was meeting the friendly duo. The doggie welcome was unexpected and delightful. As enchanting as the village itself.