My new morning walk takes me, after a series of little streets in Carolina Meadows, out onto Whippoorwill Lane, a country road most of which, after the Farrington Mill intersection, is a long secluded dead end The entire walk, to the end of Whippoorwill and home again, is roughly 3.6 miles, a bit shorter than my old walk, but quite pleasant nonetheless. Near the end of Whippoorwill, I walk past a grand house [grand for this neighborhood] with a pair of gated driveways, guarded by a large Great Dane who cannot, I trust, get through the gates. The Great Dane has siblings, a little calico cat and a small black cheerful dog of mixed ancestry who once trotted across the street to say hello.
Yesterday, I walked earlier than usual, starting at about 5:15 a.m. When I passed the big house, the little black dog came over again to say hello. I scratched her behind the ears, petted her, and told her how lovely she is. Then I continued on my way. The little black dog followed along, wagging her tail. I thought, “Well, she will stop after fifty feet and go back,” but she kept on right to the end of Whippoorwill Lane. Then she turned as I did and walked back with me to her house.
But she did not stop when we had reached her home. She kept right on trotting beside me. I tried telling her to go home, but she just took this as more attention and wagged her tail even more vigorously. She followed me past the corn field, past the riding stables, all the way to the intersection with Farrington Mill. By this time I was getting worried. Although she is well fed and obviously a house dog, not a stray dog, she has no collar, no i.d. tag.
She followed me to the entrance to Carolina Meadows, she followed me as I turned from street to street, she followed me into my building, she followed me onto the elevator, she followed me off the elevator, and she followed me right into my apartment, delighting and astonishing Susie. We gave her some water and took her back down to our car, which she hopped into as though she had done it a hundred times. Then we drove back to the gated house, pushed her out of the car, and drove away very fast.
This morning it started to rain before I reached the gated house and I turned back. The flesh is weak, and tomorrow, if she follows me home again, I cannot be certain that I will do the right thing and take her home. I mean, they can’t be very nice to her if she is so ready to follow me home, right?