Dog in the Park
He often went for a walk_ he called it a jog_ in The Meadows. It is a much treasured possession of the Edinburgh community. At any given moment of the day, from before dawn to midnight, there are hundreds of people taking advantage of this green oasis. Above all, it is popular with joggers, dog walkers and young parents trying to rein in the excess energy of their offsprings. And lovers failing to find a private nook of their own.
He had always been fascinated by people walking their dogs. The tail-wagging canines seem tireless. He has not yet witnessed a dog whose master has just hurled a stick or a ball, lift its nose and decide that it was time to go home instead.
On this particular occasion, it was the master who lacked the energy. He was quite old, and the jogger saw him slowly edging forward, the dog clearly impatient at his snail’s pace, running at speed away, and then turning back towards him, as if to rush him up. But the old fellow seemed on his last lap.
It was with great relief that he found a park bench, and fairly collapsed on it. But not without first taking a ball out of his pocket, which he dropped to his tail-wagging charge. The latter looked at it scornfully, as if saying that he expected more. Obviously just some greater contribution from his two-legged friend, but he had switched off. He barked his protest a few times, prodded his master’s feet as a prompt, but without any reaction. He gathered after a while that if he wanted any fun, he had to do it all by himself. So he nudged the ball with his snout, making it roll away about a metre. He turned round to check whether the man had been following his manoeuvre, and getting no sign from him to the effect, he kept nudging the ball away a few times. When it was about twenty metres away, he grabbed it, turned round and started sprinting towards the man on the bench. He dropped it at his feet and waited for a word of appreciation, but it was not forthcoming. He decided to repeat the process, pushing the ball away a few times, and sprinting back with it.
This time, when he dropped the ball, and there was again no reaction, he started barking his disapproval in earnest. He jumped on the man’s lap, and buried his snout in the man’s stomach, all to no effect.
It was then that he caught sight of the walking jogger. He stopped at his feet, barked some more and with canine intelligence, clearly demanded that the man come see the fellow on the bench.
When he did, he found that the old fellow was no longer breathing.