Part 13: I wait for the poop and then I pick it up. Then we continue walking.

Dugan was up early- earlier than I had hoped but about when I expected.

Quarter to six.

No go, I rolled over. I continued to roll over for the next two hours, despite his huffing, little whimpering, jumping on the bed, jumping off the bed, jumping back on the bed and scratching- shaking the whole goddamn thing. It's what I imagine living through a moderate earthquake might feel like. But I slept through it, or tried too at least.

Five to eight.

That's it, party's over. I can ignore a lot, but when it comes to him licking my face, then there is only so much I can stand. So we got up. He was stoked.

He already had that shithead look in his eyes and it wasn't even eight yet.

Food then a quick walk. My legs hurt from yesterday and walking wasn't high on my list of things to do. But Dugan was all about it. He got screwed yesterday and knew I felt bad about it. Today, he was going to milk it for all it's worth and push that envelope until he felt I had had enough. Because things had been cool. But yesterday, I had to work all day and he couldn't come. If he could have, shit yeah we would have brought him! But there were a lot of sketchy looking characters around, setting up for the concert, and Dugan does not take kindly to such sketchy looking characters.

It is funny though. We both think the same person is a little weird. The person with the funky hat or jolted scramble of a walk. You know, the person you see when you're out walking and after they walk by, you chuckle and think, well, that dude was a little strange.

Dugan and I always agree on those people.

So we went out to Valley Green. Philly almost feels like Maine today, there's a nice breeze and no trace of humidity what so ever. It's comfortable. And on the path at Valley Green, coming in off the ball field, Dugan was on overdrive. He swerved this way and bolted that way. He kept picking up sticks that were way too big him- way to hard to manage. He kept trying to eat trash. Goddamnit that's starting to get me pissed off. It's disgusting! Absolutely nasty and he does it all the time. A napkin here, a hot dog bun there, a whatever-the-hell-that-is across the way. It's a filthy habit, like smoking or huffin' glue or bowling, and it's one he needs to stop.

But every dog does that, Jody said. We met Jody on the way back. Unlike the dude who I had seen earlier and thought was Jody, this dude was actually Jody. He was out for a run and we stopped to chat. From the perspective of someone thinking of setting up camp in Philly for the long haul, randomly meeting your cousin out while taking the dog for a walk is a comforting thing. Like the weather. It's familiar, let's you remember what's real and what's not. Plus with Jody, you learn fun facts like when the latest tree fell out in along the path and when Cousin JJ the Farmer is in town with New Radiant Storm King- Sat Aug 22nd at MRoom (front & girard.)

Before seeing Jody and before turning around, Dugan went tromping through the creek. He likes to jump from rock to rock and really only goes swimming if he absolutely has too. So like- when he jumps and misses a rock. Then he's a little screwed and he swats his big ol' paws up and down, creating a hell of a lot of noise and water splashing about before he finds another rock. Then he stands there, gets his shit together, and then goes back on Drifting Stick Patrol. But the current baffles him. He won't go near it.

I don't get it.

But then he was a little bit of shithead when it was time to leave the creek and continue walking. He did his little bullshit act of running around in crazy, criss-crossing circles- doing anything necessary and unnecessary to avoid getting the leash back on. It was frustrating, not comfortable and not kind of funny like it is right now when he's lying upside down, under the table and right on my foot. He just stretched out and his spine feels funky on my foot. Really, he's a weird dude.

But for about five minutes he was a real shithead. The thing is that I knew he'd come back. For all his misgivings and shortcomings, Dugan is one thing. He's incredibly loyal and he's a team player. He'll act all tough until you get out of eye sight and then he comes running back. So it's almost inevitable that the act will end. This was good, I was almost too tired to go after him and my calls of Dugan quickly faded into the breeze- lacking the gusto needed to properly carry. Like shit man, Dad back in the day. He would call our names and from streets away we could hear it. It was like a church bell.

It was impossible not to hear.

We had no excuses.

Dugan got distracted by something in the brush. I hooked on the Red Sox leash and got him back to the path. I looked at him as we walked- he couldn't walk in a straight line and looked a little worse for the wear. I could tell he had moved on, was now thinking about something else. Dropping a deuce maybe? I couldn't decide if I wanted to put my headphones back in and the new Dr. Dog album back on, or just listen to the woods. All it took was for me to start thinking about work next week and I put the headphones back on.

Gave the volume a little bump and got back to walking. Can't let the little things bother you, not on a day like today. Not on a Saturday with the sun shining and the wind kicking around and nothing but relaxation of the docket. No way, dude. We're all moving on. We're all saying screw it and moving on.

Up, down, sideways.

Just on, dude. Just moving on.

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