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A scruff of tree-blanketed hill looming over the horizon catches my eye whenever I take the dogs to any of the bayside dog parks and gaze back towards land. I thought it was a protected grove of eucalyptus, and only recently realized that it was publicly accessible. So today, I brought the dogs along for an exploratory hike. We entered from the steep back trails. I quickly learned that I am not a good visual judge of the relative difficulty of inclines. By the time we were halfway up the hill, I was groaning like a little old lady. The descent required some nimble footwork, thanks to my grip-less shoes.

At the top of the hill, I also learned, or rather confirmed something I’d previously observed about Bowpi. She absolutely hates sticks or stick-like things raised overhead. I’d go so far as to say that she’s terrified of sticks held in any sort of striking position. Dramatic proof of this fear presented itself at the park today, when we crested a steep incline, and suddenly came upon a group of people rehearsing Kendo drills. The scene took us all by surprise due to the angle of our approach, but as soon as Bowpi saw all the people brandishing sticks, she made an immediate 180-degree turn and zipped down the hill like a furry red rocket.

Afraid that Bowpi would try to run all the way back to the car, but also fearing I would tumble down the hill if I moved too quickly, I crept just a few yards down the path and crouched down with Bowdu, calling her name. I figured pursuit would just agitate her. Worse yet, she might figure I was following her, thus giving her allowance to keep running ahead. Within a minute or so, she had recovered her wits and courage (as she usually does), and returned to where Bowdu and I sat waiting. However, she could not be convinced to proceed back up that path, so we changed routes and finished our walk.

Come baaack!
Photo taken 28 July 2010

An incident where she was similarly startled occurred maybe a month or two ago. I had a flyswatter in hand to do battle with an offending insect in my study. I was about six feet away from Bowpi, and didn’t even swing in her direction, but the very moment that the flyswatter descended, she was OUT of the room in a flash and had no interest in reentering until the next day. Under normal circumstances, she cannot be ousted from her position on the futon in my study — all it took that day was the whisk of a flyswatter.

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Photo taken 31 May 2010