During my weekday walks, I see another golden retriever. This sad miserable critter wanders along on an extended lead, which usually sags at full length, possibly a metre. When he can’t stretch the lead out farther, he stands watching the world go by while waiting for a slouching unshaven male to catch up. Mr. Sleazy barely lifts his head to smirk at me when I say ‘good morning.’ He is rather unnaturally interested in the picture messages on his phone.
The dog glances up at me and shrugs hopelessly. He knows as well as I do that he is not having a walk. He is having a mosey outside while a man who shouldn’t be allowed to associate with him concentrates on the trivialities of his life.
Mr. Sleazy reads the whole time during the walks. Goldie goes wherever he wishes. Whichever stop we meet at along the way, sometimes twice, there and back, Sleazy is still grinning at his phone and the dog is still waiting and sighing regretfully. It was months before I realised this was the same dog as the happy one dashing along with Ms. Fit.
One day Goldie was having a piddle in the middle a manicured garden. I gave him a look of horror which he answered with a quick evil grin. Mr. Sleazy was propped up against the fence of the neighbouring house, lost in his own world of the mobile phone. I said to him, “You must have wonderful messages on that thing,” and he had the sense to look guilty - but he still had no idea how his dog was silently embarrassing him.
Occasionally, the dog winks at me. I always smile at him. Someone has to show a bit of empathy.