It really didn’t matter how badly Chase needed to relieve himself: if it was raining he was simply not interested in being outside alone. If he was going to be wet and miserable, so was I. Rain does amazing things to my hair. It turns it into a wavy, frizzy unmanageable mess that a flat iron can’t even tackle. I dreaded the mornings during the week that I awoke to the sound of rain gently pattering on my roof. I knew there would be trouble with my dog.
I developed the “carport method” of dog walking. I would attach three dog leashes to one another in order to extend my reach. Then, I would huddle under the carport and push Chase out into the yard. Inevitably he would yank me as hard as possible so that I would be pulled from my shelter into the open downpour right alongside man’s best friend. If I attempted to push him out the dog door into the fenced-in backyard, he would not budge from the narrow shelter of the roof overhang. Even with the knowledge that he would be treated to the warm air from the blow dryer upon re-entering the house, Chase would not go it alone. So, more times than not I would be walking my dog in the rain. With me by his side he happily sniffed the ground with his dripping wet tail wagging like a limp flag. With me by his side he would conduct all dog business quickly so long as I didn’t carry an umbrella. He would eye the umbrella with such distrust and suspicion that it was easier to leave it behind.
Chase didn’t really hate the rain. He didn’t mind being wet, either. He just didn’t like being alone. Under my watchful eye in the back yard he would pounce into puddles, digging frantically in the muck. He would attack each puddle with determination creating his own private wallow. Slick brown mud would cake his front legs like dripping chocolate leg warmers. He would snap at the rain droplets, trying to catch them in his mouth.
When I had enough, he would follow me back into the house and tap dance muddy paw prints all over the kitchen floor, tolerating the dish towel drying each paw. Into the bathroom to dry his fur, Chase would turn his head and twist his body to alert me as to where he preferred the blast of air. As his fur dried into the gentle waves that English Setters are known for, Chase would nudge his wet nose onto the back of my hand.
All grown up, it is rare that I see him in my yard chasing down puddles, digging in the soft dirt and playing in the rain. Sometimes, on a showery day, I think back and smile and wish that he would make me late for work one more time.