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Travels With Maggie: Man's Best Friend

Where the Wonders Begin

Thanks for joining us today on our walk. It’s always nice having company. You can find us all days where our driveway ends and the wonders begin. Maggie and Toby are excited and ready to go, despite the heat, so let’s get this walk started.

Let's go!  Come on, I'm ready, let's go!!!!

Let's go! Come on, I'm ready, let's go!!!!

Separate but Equal

When alone, I will walk the dogs individually. They are both in the sixty-pound weight range, and they can be a handful for one person to walk with. Both are pretty good on a leash, but that flies out the window with one squirrel or one rabbit, the base instincts of my dogs take over, and I am yanked in various directions. At my age, with a hip that needs replacing, I can’t afford to be yanked in any direction, thank you very much.

One at a time is all I can handle.

Maggie always goes first, seniority having that privilege. One mile with Maggie, return home, leash-up Toby, and one mile with him. We take the same route daily, down Ethridge, right on Bethel, a right on Miller, and back home on Fir. The neighbors know us on that route. It’s a fairly safe route for a route mapped along city streets. It provides plenty of shade for the hot days, and plenty of greenbelt areas for sniffing on any day.

Maggie has her favorite spots to roll in. It never fails, the exact same spot, drop down, roll around on her back until my patience ends, then back up. This happens three or four times per walk. I can’t really get too impatient with her, despite my desire to keep going. She gets such enjoyment out of those rolls in the grass that I just sigh and allow it to happen.

One day last week, though, Maggie found a new spot for rolling, one never before rolled upon. She went about her business, dropped, rolled, obviously enjoying it, then rose and we continued. We got home, I leashed up Toby, he and I went the same circuit, and then something strange happened. As we were approaching home, from ten feet away, Toby stopped, sniffed the air, and made a direct trip to the new spot Maggie had rolled in previously. He dropped and rolled in that same, new spot, and Toby is not one to roll on these walks. It’s like some invisible signal had been tripped in his brain, at that precise spot, and he knew his sister had rolled there.

It was weird! It was magical! It was wondrous!

Sweetheart Maggie unless she's threatened.

Sweetheart Maggie unless she's threatened.

The Wonder of Dogs

I am in awe of dogs. They see things I will never see. They smell things I will never smell. They hear things I will never hear. Add to that the fact that they are fiercely loyal, unflinching in their desire to please their owners, and an endless supplier of warm and fuzzies, and I am left with days when I wonder which species really is superior, mankind or dogs.

I will believe this until the day I die: no dog is born hating people (let's ignore the fact they are descendants of wolves for this discussion). No dog is born aggressive. Bad behavior is learned. Bad behavior is the direct result of actions taken by a dog owner as the dog grows older. In their natural state, a dog wants only to please its owner, to give love, and to receive love.

Kind of like human babies, come to think of it.

Are there bad seeds among us? Was Ted Bundy one such bad seed, born with a personality abnormality, or was he the direct result of a misshapen childhood? I think of these things often, and I suspect that a vast majority, somewhere in the 90% range, of anti-social behavior is learned behavior. The vast majority of bad kids were not bad babies. The vast majority of babies are born innocent. They are, in fact, innocence personified. To think otherwise is to invite many a sleepless night, and I won’t go down that nightmare road.

The neighborhood in the Fall

The neighborhood in the Fall

A Perfect Day for a Walk

We are currently enjoying Chamber of Commerce weather, the kind of weather which draws tourists to our distant shores, mild, high-seventies, low-eighties, comfortable sleeping weather in the evenings, certainly better than the brutality of one-ten we lived in during a three-day stretch in late June. Without a doubt, the climate is changing, no political agenda there, simply observations based on seventy-plus years of banging around these parts. The summers are noticeably warmer, uncomfortably so, and the winters feature larger snowstorms than is our norm. There seems to be less rain, the lifeblood of our environment, forests are drier, the whole ball of wax, and that ball of wax is screaming CHANGE.

What does it mean? What can we do? What should we do? I think about these things as the dogs and I pass by neighbors, toss out our hellos, stop on occasion for a pat on the head, kind words exchanged. Lydia has her garden sparkling with a variety of colors, and I tell her so. Bob is pruning, smiling as he does, listening to Credence, his right leg tapping to the beat. Two young girls bike by, giggling as they do, “Hey, Mister, your dog is cute,” one shouts, a slight breeze passes over me in the wake of their travels.

How many colors are there? Not the invented ones at Home Depot, but actually base colors? They are all on display during these walks, and variations of them, gardens bursting with colors, the background dark greens of firs and pines, light greens of maples and ash, and wispy clouds kiss the sky on their way to the next summer scene down the highway of life, mine to witness for a few moments before they become overhead dream-makers for others walking other paths of life.

A Growl of Warning

Maggie stops as we pass a wooded area, stands absolutely still, and growls, a low-guttural sound, menacing, primal, her eyes locked on something I cannot see, and I feel the hairs on my neck stand at attention. It is a growl which says this ain’t no Hollywood-manufactured horror scene but one rooted in reality, danger is nearby, the shape and form of which are only discernible by my girl, my protective girl, and she stands her ground, not giving an inch, the last bastion of defense between the unseen threat and her owner, and pride washes over me, engulfs me, emotions running freely through me, this dog, this sixty-two pound bundle of fur and muscle, would absolutely lay down her life for me, no questions asked, no command given, that she would do for me, and I feel a tear slide down my cheek, for loyalty like that is known by very few.

And then the moment has passed, the unseen having moved on, like the wispy clouds overhead, to present a threat to someone else down the road, and Maggie relaxes, wags her tail, rubs up against my leg. I pet her, tell her what a good girl she is, and I am reminded, once again, how very special these walks are, and how very lucky I am.

Our Home Comes Into Sight

One last greeting to Anna, our eighties-something cross-street neighbor, out getting her mail, a brief exchange of small talk, Maggie anxious to return home for her treat, the pavement of our driveway now underfoot, the wonders of the walk at an end until tomorrow, and then tomorrow, and then more tomorrows, for it seems to me that life is a never-ending documentary, chronicling the absolute joy of life, if only we are willing to sit still and watch it, enjoy it, and become one with it.

Thanks so much for joining us on our walk. We hope you choose to do so again, one day soon.

From our world to yours, blessings always!

2021 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 29, 2021:

We live in a great neighborhood, Flourish. Not as great as the one I grew up in, but great nonetheless. Thanks for stopping by. I hope this finds you well.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 28, 2021:

You are fortunate to have such loyal and loving friends who share your little corner of the universe. It's also nice of them that they allow you to post stories about your life together using their real names and telling all the dirt when there is some (haha).

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2021:

MizB, I can relate very well. I have had Toby take off after a rabbit, and I swear almost dislocating my shoulder. I try to be prepared for any surprise, but they are strong dogs and they can toss me around if they are excited.

And I love them dearly!

I hope you are doing well, my friend. Lovely weather here right now, 48 straight days without rain, looks like we'll break our all-time record of 55 next week. Times they are a'changin'!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2021:

Thank you Devika! We are always grateful when you choose to walk with us.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on July 25, 2021:

Such a wonderful walk with your amazing dogs. Thanks for inviting us along. Your Maggie's growl reminds me of a walk down the road at dusk in 2006 with our then-dog, Genghis, a 105 lb. chow pei. I was still recuperating from injuries I sustained in a bus accident back in April of that year, and it was hot, dry August. Larry had just come home from having major surgery, or otherwise I wouldn't have been walking him. He spotted a doe in the woods a few feet from us and took off chasing her through the brambles, turning me into a pull toy. Yelling and pulling on his leash for him to stop, we were about 10 yards into the woods before he got the point. That was an experience that left me with the sore realization that walking dogs could be dangerous. I wish Genghis had been a dog of Maggie's temperament. However, I have no doubt that he'd have fought to the death had the deer been a cougar. Come to think of it, he might have won. That dog was somethin' else.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 25, 2021:

Heidi, we are very careful with our dogs in the heat, as I'm sure you are as well. Let's hope we have a very long Fall with mild temps.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 25, 2021:

Thank you once more, Miebakagh!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 25, 2021:

Hi Bill your walks with Maggie is such a pleasure to read about and the experiences are phenomenal!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on July 23, 2021:

The heat has been challenging for the pups! Glad you got some "chamber of commerce" weather. Thanks for taking us along!

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 23, 2021:

Truely, amazing!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 23, 2021:

Lora, truthfully, most days I tear up when I'm with these two dogs. I am overflowing with love for them, and I am in awe of their devotion and reciprocated love for me. They would do anything for me. They spend their entire lives trying to please me. It just blows me away that another creature could spend every waking hour concerned about me and hoping that I will shower attention on them. Unbelievable!

Anyway, thank you for sharing about Monty. I'm so sorry he is no longer with you. I sure think you need another dog. Someone with love to spare, like you, needs to share it with a dog, no doubt about it. :)

Lora Hollings on July 22, 2021:

What a beautiful tribute to dogs your article is, Bill. I so enjoyed reading it. I couldn’t help but laugh as you described Maggie and Toby pulling you in various directions.

It brought back vivid memories of my German wire hair pointing griffon named Monty. I got him from the shelter as a puppy for my daughter and he grew up to be quite a handful! He was always chasing squirrels and how he loved riding in the car and going for walks. The funny thing about him, though, was that when we would take him on a leash when were on a bicycle, he always seemed to be aware or gentlemanly enough not to run after a squirre or something else that got his attention. It was so amazing, he didn’t like to tow the line and was such a free spirit! He would only do one command and that was to sit but he wouldn’t stay! But he knew exactly how to get around stop signs and trees on that bicyle with my husband or myself holding that leash. It was uncanny! He never once got entangled nor did he pull when he was in that situation so that we might fall or hurt ourselves. He was a canine genius when it came to that! He was so cute, too, with his mustache and beard. People used to laugh when they saw him in the front seat sitting on the passenger side and they would say how much he reminded them of a grandpa with his wiry face. Yes, I really miss him still and my other three dogs who have all passed away! I still seem them in my house, at times, I could swear and I always think about the wonderful times I had with all of them. They are always with me in my heart and I hope that when I cross the Rainbow Bridge, one day, they will all be there to greet me! I agree with you, dogs are true miracles. Your article also brought tears to my eyes when you talked about their awesome loyalty. Thank you for writing this wonderful article!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 22, 2021:

Nithya, thank you! Maggie and Toby thoroughly enjoy your company on these walks. You are always welcome.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 22, 2021:

Thank you Brenda! Walking the route twice is probably a very good thing for me. Otherwise my waist would balloon very quickly.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 22, 2021:

Thank you Denise! Toby and Maggie bring out the best in me, and for that I am grateful! Blessings to you always!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 22, 2021:

And we love you walking with us, Miebakagh! Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 22, 2021:

Thank you Vidya! They are like big babies, and I can't imagine a day without out two babies. :) Blessings to you always!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 22, 2021:

Linda, other than that nasty June wee, this has been a good summer for weather, me thinks. Now they are worried about drought conditions here. If it's not one thing it's a thousand, you know. Sure glad the doubters are correct about climate change LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 22, 2021:

Dogs are awesome, period! I have nothing to add to that, Mr. Happy. We are in complete agreement...and thick or think, I figured it out. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 22, 2021:

I think you are correct, Bill, on both counts. I love dogs more than most people as well, and trying to convince China about climate change is called Mission Impossible. Heck, we can't even get Japan to stomp down on COVID.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 22, 2021:

Thank you Chrish! I'll take a power hug and woof any old time. I'm glad you enjoyed the walk. It was nice visiting with you through the neighborhood. You are welcome any time you are in our area.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on July 22, 2021:

What a lovely path to take a walk in, so beautiful. The photo is so amazing, nature at her best. Dogs are great animals and are not born aggressive as you say. They are so loyal and do not expect anything in return. Maggie and Toby will lay down their lives for you. I enjoyed the walk, thank you for sharing.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on July 21, 2021:


I love taking these walks with you.

It amazes me that Toby found that exact same spot and rolled in it.

Pretty fantastic!

I'm glad Maggie is a protector and lets you know if something isn't right.

As for the colors...There are so many different ones we can see if we take the time to look.

Sorry to hear you can't take them both at once, but they seem fine.

Only thing is you have to walk the route twice.

Take care.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 21, 2021:

That is a special kind of relationship, with mutual love and devotion. I always enjoy how a walk with a dog can become a philosophical discussion with you. Thanks for the walk.



Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 21, 2021:

Bill, thank you for the read. I love the travel with Maggie stories.

VIDYA D SAGAR on July 21, 2021:

I enjoyed this walk with your Maggie and Toby, Bill. I often have the same thought when I see my pet. He is so much like a baby. Pets are adorable. Life would not be the same without them. Looking forward to more such walks with your furry friends Bill, thanks for this one.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on July 21, 2021:

What a great day for a walk, Bill. I'll take 65 and cloudy any day. Your Maggie loves you to the moon and back. Learning to love you has evolved, of course, but she is hard-wired to give and protect. You're right--animals are not born evil or mean. I'm assuming Toby displays those same caring traits (but perhaps in a more playful, less dignified manner).

Thanks for letting me tag along.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on July 21, 2021:

thick not think lol

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on July 21, 2021:

"How many colors are there?" - None. There are no colours in reality. Our eyes make-up the colours. Dogs do not see all the colours we see, for example. We make them all up.

Thanks for sharing your walk. Dogs are awesome, period. I love the photo with the chunks of snow hanging off your furry friend. It used to happen to my dog all the time. Terriers are great with snow though. That think, wiry coat keeps them warm in some pretty freezing temperatures. I'd often find my dog sleeping in the snow lol

Alrighty, You have a joyful remainder of a week - cheers!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on July 21, 2021:

What a nice walk with the dogs. They are much more capable of unconditional love than humans, and this is why I love dogs more than most people. Kind of sad to feel that way, but I feel strongly that they are more loving, devoted, and caring than humans.

As far as climate change we need to do something on a global basis now. Frankly, I don’t see that happening as there is way too much greed and apathy in the world. Enjoyed the walk, have a great day, Bill.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on July 21, 2021:

No dog is born aggressive. Bad behavior is learned. Bad behavior is the direct result of actions taken by a dog owner as the dog grows older. In their natural state, a dog wants only to please its owner, to give love, and to receive love. Absolutely true! Sir Bill.

I enjoyed reading this article so much Sir Bill! When walking my fur babys I'm si strict HAHA I know that it's their nature sniffing on walks for maybe that is how they perceive the world, but when I saw them chewing something on the walk is absolutely unpleasant! My dogs are pomerenain and Shih Tzu both small so I can handle two of them on the street, the other five will take care of themselves HAHA

Talkin about the rising global average temperature? Climate change? I dunno.

Thank you for bringing us on the walk with your giants! It was fun and educational!!!

Sending power hugs and woooof yous to all of you out there especially to the giants!!!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

Fascinating, Misbah! Thanks for sharing all that. Gave birth in the washing machine? LOL I love that story.

For sure I believe dogs are highly-tuned into nature and can tell when events are going to happen. We have such a limited understanding of animals. We would do well to pay closer attention them.

Anyway, you take care and be well.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

Peggy, they can drive me crazy at times, but I can't imagine my day without them in it. Thanks for walking along with us. The dogs think you are pretty cool.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on July 21, 2021:

Thank you so much. It was a very pleasant walk. Mr. Bill. I enjoyed it very much. Like you, I, too, believe that dogs can see and feel things that humans cannot.

The Asian culture says that animals, especially dogs, cats, crows, and birds, can predict what's going to happen. They also alert humans by their actions and sounds. When I was in Pakistan, there was a street cat who walked around the neighborhood and on the street. She gave birth to her children in our washing machine. Lol. I remember my grandmother said that such homes are considered to be very lucky where cats give birth to their babies.

A similar incident occurred when that cat was screaming and my grandma told me to give her some milk as she believed that it's not good if you hear the crying sound of a cat. In many movies, they show that dogs can see supernatural things that humans can't see.

Sir, Take care. Stay safe and healthy. Keep smiling.

Blessings always.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2021:

We experienced many of the same things (different locale, of course) when walking our dogs. It is truly a pleasure vicariously walking along with you and your dogs. They are fantastic creatures of love, loyalty, and devotion to their humans who are fortunate enough to be sharing life with them. I miss our buddies.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

John, thanks for walking with us. How do people ignore science? I'll never understand it, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

Manatita, it's amazing that summer is already waning. Time is fleeting, my friend, much more so now that I am on the final stretch of years. Beautiful description of fall, my friend. Thanks for sharing your words.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

We enjoyed you walking with us, Rosina. Thanks for the wonderful company your provided.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

Pamela, you touched upon a crucial point, and I don't know what the answer is. China is so large, with so many people....how does the rest of the world influence them and make them realize that change is necessary for us all to survive?

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on July 21, 2021:

I love the walk with your dogs, Bill. They bring out a whole different side off people, and life is so much better with aa dog in it. It doesn’t take a knowledge of science to know that the climate is changing. It is only too obvious. Thanks for sharing your walk with us.

manatita44 from london on July 21, 2021:

Beautiful! Devotion is the dogs name, plus loyalty also. We lack this as humans ... some.

The neighbourhood Fall is beautiful, serene. I can smell the glistening magenta, as the light-royal sky peeps through, cradling the verdure of Mother nature.

Rosina S Khan on July 21, 2021:

I loved the walk with you and your dogs. It was pleasant to watch the beautiful sceneries, the neighbors, and doggies' behavior from time to time. All in all, I enjoyed the walk very much and look forward to more walks with them.

Happy Wednesday, Bill. Wish you all the best.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 21, 2021:

It is such a pleasure to walk with the dogs. It is a nice quiet time to reflect on things, so I hope I didn't talk too much. LOL

I think there is climate change. One thing that bothers me is we cn change many things here in the U.S. but if other countries don't follow suit it probably won'd help. I don't think China will change anything, and there are others also.

On a brighter note, I enjoyed the walk. I love your dogs. They are adorable. Thanks for a splendid time.

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