My Dog, the Connoisseur


I love watching dogs at parks. The vast majority are active, wound-up balls of energy and they need to run, walk, frolick, and play. I see them diving after frisbees or racing after a tennis ball that has been thrown numerous times until it is a disjointed, sopping mess.

However, my dog, Noodle, is not like that.

Much like a tiny, canine version of Hercule Poirot, he is fastidious and shy. He may chase after a ball, but it is rarely more than a half-dozen times before he looks up as if to say, “is that it? You’re just going to keep throwing it?”

He seems perfectly happy to wander about, casually before returning to our house where he can lie back down on the couch and snore.

I will say, though, our dog likes walks. Really loves them.

However, unlike most of his doggy peers, he doesn’t like walks as a chance to exercise or even a chance to poop. He’s in it for the smells.

For Noodle, it’s about every blade of grass, every corner shrub that may have had another dog near it. Frankly, I think it is more than that. It’s about the exploration, the new find that needs to be uncovered, sniffed, licked, savored, enjoyed, and then meticulously adjoined with his own scented urine.

Walks are long, disjointed affairs. It can take a half-hour to cover 4 blocks. Like one of those weird, freaky connoisseur, his tastes must be indulged.

I used to take him on runs, but over the years, my splits got longer and longer, as it was rarely a block that didn’t have a strange discolored pipe or bunch of flowers that needed to be inspected. Often Noodle would skid to a halt and fight his leash as he angled hurriedly to a rotted tree stump or a fresh sprinkling of manure on a lawn.

So, now, we go for “walks,” which is usually me standing on the sidewalk while he surveys his Kingdom, one delicious experience at a time.