Today, I set out on the bike for the gym, but never did make it there. I stopped in a park, a new one for me, and by the time I convinced myself to leave, my original plan no longer seemed important. First, I noticed this King Charles Spaniel (I think that's the breed) romping with its playmate. They shared the same human, and could have been related or not. What I'm sure of, is that they were having a great time. When I asked permission to take photos, this sweetie approached, lay down, looked up and said, "If you need cute and adorable, look no further."
(*Click on the pictures to see them full size.)
With no possibility that the picture would be anything but perfect, it was time to play. I never did get the names of these dogs, but the mate, not to be outdone, allowed a full face view to make identification easier.
When I first arrived at the park, the romping spaniels caught my eye. However, it was Benson who convinced me that I was welcome. He came to greet me before I was even off my bike. He exuded an air of dignity, warmth and fun, all wrapped into one dear package. At eleven, he was learning a new life. He had come to live with a young couple, one of whom was the grandchild of his human, who had passed away. Clearly much loved in the past and the present, he was confidently adapting, meeting other dogs and learning about play for the first time.
He leaned against my leg and my heart melted. Difficult to get pictures from so close, but then he helped me out with some easy poses for my elementary camera skills.
Hearing and eyesight were slipping just a little but smell was fine. He nosed out my treats and utilized his "Could you give me one now?" expression with perfect finesse.
And a little socialization time with the Spaniels. No problem there either. Have a long and happy life, Benson. You are in great hands, and your human is in luck too, with the gift of you.
When the Spaniels and Benson left, there was still some faint hope that I might go to the gym. But along came Sisko. Another much loved, and very loving dog. Sisko's human was delighted to show off her handsome beast, and as long as there was a possibility of treats and attention, Sisko was willing to delay his walk for a little while.
"I bet you can't resist this debonair expression. Will you hand over the treat now?"
"No? Okay, how about this?"
Sisko was becoming a little concerned by this last photo, but I came through with the treat, and he obliged with lots of photo ops, before he finally headed off for more adventures. I loved meeting you and your human, Benson. You were another warm spot in my good day.
With gym now definitely out of the question, a latte seemed a perfect plan. I biked over to Burrard and 5th, to the Elysium Cafe. Very good lattes and lovely people there. I tried to walk by these three dogs and their humans. I even succeeded. I went in for my latte, but kept looking out the window at the three oh so handsome canines waiting out their humans' coffee fix. Finally, summoning my courage, I asked if I might try my hand at taking some photos. Very obliging and kind people. They did their best to help me out, but I never did manage to do these dogs justice. I think they were saying, "What? You want our picture, just like that? Don't you realize we need to get to know you, before allowing the privilege of a photo shoot?"
I persisted, and must say to the ever patient humans that I love people who take their dogs with them on coffee runs. Yes, it means sitting outside in a variety of weather, but it's worth it. And what a great family of dogs, all getting on just fine together.
As they were leaving, one more attempt was made to get this beautiful Shepherd to look at the camera. No luck, but thanks for trying. I enjoyed meeting all of you on this perfect Fall day.
No ride feels really complete without at least one crow shot, so here is today's best effort.
The bike route along 8th, as I headed home, was a blaze of color. I managed to stop only once.
Black Jack was sunning herself in the back yard when I arrived. Have I mentioned she originally came from California?
Only a thorough check for squirrels in the neighbor's yard can interrupt a sun bathing session.
With sun bathing and squirrel checks complete, Bill and I accompanied Black Jack up to 16th for a walk in the woods. Everywhere I looked, trees and leaves begged to be recorded.
And finally almost home. Just a quick stop for a few groceries. I held Black Jack in my arms, while Bill picked up the supplies at Safe Way. One lady commented after seeing Black Jack snuggled comfortably into my jacket, "I'm trying to arrange to come back as my own dog when I die. So far, there are a few technical difficulties, but when I figure out how to solve them, I'll post it." She left and I chuckled as I pondered her words. Thinking along those lines will make us humans perfect dog companions, don't you think?
P.S. I love the way Bill is striding out, and Black Jack is prancing, with her little paw raised, as they head into the lane behind our house. A good Sunday.