Edsel the rebel

Through trial, error, and encounters with a particularly barky Doberman who lives at a house where his owner’s license plate reads “Queen,” Edsel and I have discovered an evening constitutional that usually involves seeing no dogs. Each day that we accomplish this, we feel the thrill of victory.

If we see dogs, we feel the agony of defeat similar to that one guy’s agony of defeat who tumbles off the ski mountain and rips down the sign.

I guess that’s more what I feel. What Edsel feels is, “WOO WOOO WOOO WOOO WOOO. EDZUL KILL YOU FOR EXIST. WOOO WOO WOOO. DO YOU NOT NO EDZ ONLY DOG ALLOW TO EXIST!?!? WOOO!”

Our successful no-dogs constitutional involves walking to one of our dead-ends, then to another, then to a school parking lot, an Elks Club parking lot and a church parking lot. If we feel really walky, we head to Forest’s cemetery. Then we retrace our steps home.

Because there is a plague, both the school and the Elks lots are empty. Once Eds and I climbed the stairs of the Elks and saw a youngish girl inside and she and I and Eds all got frighted. I still don’t know what the hell she was doing in there. Was she an Elks ghost?

Because it’s the South, there are sometimes people parked in that church parking lot, because Southern people gonna get their God on, plague or no plague. But we still rarely see people. Just their God squad cars.

I’m telling you all these fairly dull facts to tell you how ridiculous I’ve been about the soccer field, which is attached to the back of the school.

Back in the fall, there were kids in the soccer field, so we’d avoid said field if we heard playing. When Edsel meets children, he winds his leash around my legs and hides behind me.

And by the way, when I was in high school, the only kids who played soccer were the (fairly hot) exchange students. Sometime in that brief, you know, 40 years since high school and now, it’s required that every kid in America play soccer. What even is that?

Anyway, now it’s winter and no one plays soccer just like all the soccer fields of 1983, so Eds and I walk across the fallow field as part of our constitutional. He doesn’t pee on it. It’s not part of his balanced pee-fast. Which made no sense. What I’m saying is I don’t let my dog pee on the soccer field that kids then play on, because for some reason I’m supposed to think kids are more important than dogs, which I don’t.

My point is this.

For months now, I’ve wanted to drop the leash when we’re in the field. I’ve wanted to drop the leash and let him frolic. I never do, though, because I think the minute I do is when someone else will finally show up and let their dog go free in that field, and then Edsel will gleefully gut the free Pekinese with his underbite fang and drink its guts with a grin.

But the other day I looked past the leafless trees. I could see all around me, and clearly no one was anywhere. We had the field all to ourselves.

Fuck it, I told myself. I’ll let the dog frolic, just this once.

So I dropped the leash.

I dropped the leash and watched Edsel, expecting him to pull a Tallulah-level freedom dash across that soccer field. I expected him to be a blur of free dog joy, prancing across that brown field like he was a soccer ball kicked by the exuberance of life.

Edsel looked down at his fallen leash. Then he looked underbitedly up at me. Then he looked down at his leash again.

“You’re free, Edsel!” I told him, like I was Abraham Lincoln.

“Prance, Edsel, prance!”

I may have even run a little myself, to try to encourage him to, you know, feel how loose, high, and free he was.

Edsel, his face nothing but concern, his brows knitted, picked the leash up with his mouth and trotted after me. Everywhere I tried to run, he trotted after me with his leash in his mouth. Whenever he’d catch up to me, he’d nudge me with his leashed mouth.

When I was a kid, I used to announce when it was my bedtime.

I guess Eds takes after me. Not following the rules makes him feel anxious.

Edsel seems to thrive on our routine. I think if he were a person, he’d be the kind of person who eats the same thing for breakfast every day. I realize he actually does eat the same thing for breakfast every day, but you know what I mean.

He had no desire to frolic and break the rules. It made him bothered as heck, is what it did.

So I took the leash like I was supposed to, and we headed back home on our normal route. His brows unknitted immediately.

37 Comments

  1. Poor old Edsel. Good that you have managed to work out a route that meets his needs. We had to stop letting our elderly dog off the leash because she stopped coming back when called (due to deafness, we think); and would get confused. You could practically see her thinking “Where are they?” and she would run off and join the wrong group of people (while we were running along at a distance yelling her name frantically). It all got a bit embarrassing, so now she just stays on the leash and doesn’t seem to mind.

    We also got an extending one, so, where appropriate, we can let her go a bit further, but wind her in when there are people, dogs or traffic.

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  2. I wish my offspring were as afraid to break the rules as Edsel. So sweet. Good thing another dog didn’t show up or he would’ve gotten it.

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  3. What I was trying to add was my memory of the time Mr. The Poet left the back yard gate open and Eppie sallied out into the wide world. We looked at our dumpy little neighborhood and saw it swell a thousand times bigger, with billions of niches for a small dog. May you never feel this sensation. Then Eppie crept out meekly from under Mr. The Poet’s car. The wide world was not her cup of tea.

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  4. Edsel had heard the story of Forest being dumped at the cemetery and was afraid you would dump him at the soccer field.

    Muss follo Mom. knot let Mom leev Eds. Eds skared.

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  5. Oh Edz.Wish I could hug your good boy self. You are a momma’s boy and that’s a very good thing.

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  6. We had a dog who was a rule follower once. He was an own-leash carrier, too, actually. Go to the dog park and he could never be more than one step behind me. Half a step was better. The others have all been “adios sucker!” types. Those we just let run until they wore out and then pretended like we were in charge and ready to go.

    I love imagining the two of you, stealthily walking around the ‘hood, avoiding everyone.

    Lovely words June. “Like I was Abraham Lincoln” made me snort.

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  7. I took my dogs to the dog park very early one morning because I knew nobody would be there and I could let them off leash and they could play and frolic without worrying about other dogs. Nope. They both looked at me like, “Uh, this not right. We at park. We be leashed at park. Always leashed at park. Thems the rules, Mom.” Neither would budge so I started running around the enclosure, throwing tennis balls, thinking they’d follow me and realize they could run loose. Nope. They both sat at the gate and fidgeted nervously until I just hooked them back up and we left and I could hear the huge sighs of relief that things were back to normal.

    Now if I had accidentally DROPPED their leashes, they’d both be off like a flash because then, they’re being rebels and bucking the system. It’s like when you had a curfew as a teen and it was daring to try and stay out after curfew. Then when you didn’t have a curfew any longer, you were home even earlier than your former curfew because it just wasn’t as exciting if nobody cared.

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  8. That is NOT the way I thought this story was going to go! The one dog I have had in my life definitely would still be running away with his freedom. Sweet boy, Edsel! So faithful.

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      1. My dog loves me but she loves the chance to take off after a rabbit more. I believe she would intend to come back at some point. Probably.

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  9. Oh Eds, I feel you. I’m the anxiety ridden pandemic rule follower who’s anxiously holding her own leash while those around me scamper around to restaurants to eat outside in the freezing cold. CA came off lockdown and people are all off their leashes (and lost their damn minds). My regular extroverted self has become a total introvert in the past 11 months, and I’m starting to like it. Cheers to a good week for all of us with no Rona and more June neighborhood watch chronicles & happy healthy Chelsea updates.

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  10. I love this post SO MUCH. I live in an apartment complex and I have no idea what my dogs would do unleashed, but I am pretty sure neither would have the inkling to do this. Sweetest boy.

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  11. I imagine Eds, as you dropped the leash, thinking “What the hell, Joob?! Have you lost your ever lovin’ mind??!”

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  12. Aww what a good boy. My dog has a deathly fear of sanitation trucks. She both jumps and spins at the same time and hides behind whoever has the misfortune of walking her. She used to just be curious and unable to pee/poo until she was sure the truck was gone, but recently she’s become afraid. And she’s never off-leash so it’s not like the sanitation guy got off the truck and threatened her, or she had a narrow escape under the wheels. She’s just crazy.

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  13. Sweet Edsel, he’d never do anything wrong!
    I’m so jealous you live within walking distance of a cemetery. I’d be there every day just wandering!
    Lovely post, pretty June!

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  14. Lovely post Coot.

    Poor Edsel. He loves you so much he doesn’t want to be free. He just wants you, but then again don’t we all?

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  15. Oh, I love this post so much. I can just see Edz with the leash in his mouth trotting after you. He is the cutest!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  16. Bless his knitted brow self! My dogs tend to be very routine oriented. Ellie, especially, would give us quizzical looks if we tried to break her routine. It was almost as if the hamster in her brain had fallen off its wheel.

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      1. I wonder about doggie daycare. He really didn’t pay any attention to the other dogs there.
        I am glad you gave him the chance to run. Now you know.
        Edsel only wants you. You are his safe place. We all need a place we know we are loved.
        Good boy, Edsel.

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