TMP — Pay Attention, Dammit

7702A965-1F3A-47EA-ACB9-620D9D6C462FEvery Monday, Paula Light, with her The Monday Peeve post, gives us an opportunity to vent or rant about something that pisses us off.

Today, I’m going to focus on people who walk their dog (or dogs) while talking, typing on, or looking at their smartphones. Focusing on a smartphone while dog walking is distracting at best and potentially dangerous at worst. And it’s also inconsiderate of others, both human and canine.

Between my wife and I, we walk our dog four to five times a day and we look at walking her as our primary responsibility. We have our phones with us in case of emergency, but we don’t walk our dog and use our smartphone at the same time. Sure, I may go to a park bench and sit down to give our dog a rest and whip out my smartphone to check my newsfeed or the latest sports scores. But that’s for a few minutes at most, and when we start walking again, my phone goes back into my jeans pocket.

But I see people all the time who are walking their dogs and paying attention only to what’s on their smartphones. I’ve even seen one woman trip over her dog because she was texting with one hand when the dog on the leash stepped in front of her to smell something. She took a nasty fall and scared the shit out of her dog. I mean literally, the dog took a shit right there and then.

I’ve come across people whose dogs haven’t been properly socialized or aren’t well trained. The dog will, much to the surprise of their preoccupied owners, go after my dog. If they’d have looked up from their phone, they would have seen me and my dog coming and made sure that their own dog was under control. And then there are those who don’t even notice that their dog took a dump, much less interrupt their screen time to clean up after their dog.

So my rant today is aimed at all of those dog owners who pay more attention to their smartphones than they do to their dogs.TMP

Twittering Tales — Full Moon

FEA5ED29-EA4F-452D-9A47-BA5E2B463433Just as he did every night, Sam took his dog out for her last walk of the night. The moon was full and bright, illuminating their usual route, so Sam left his flashlight at home.

Perhaps if he’d brought his flashlight that night, he’d have seen what was lurking in the bushes.

(275 characters)

Written for this week’s Twittering Tales prompt from Kat Myrman.

J is for Juggling

I’ve spent most of my life juggling stuff. I don’t mean literally juggling objects, as in throwing three or more plates, bowling pins, or flaming batons up into the air and catching them. I mean juggling everyday activities of daily living like school, sports, work, family, social life, reading, writing, and the like.

I had to work my way through college. So for most of the time during my undergraduate school, I was working at least part-time and going to school full-time. Once I got into graduate school, my time was spent working a full-time job during the day and going to classes at nights and on weekends. And for my own sanity and well being, I also tried to squeeze in some kind of social life.

After I got married and had kids, I found myself juggling my time between my job, my wife, and my kids. After my kids grew up and moved out of the house, I was still doing that delicate balancing act between keeping my wife happy and my boss happy.

(Actually, upon review, that last sentence seems kinda kinky. What I meant was keeping my wife happy with respect to my duties as her husband and my boss happy with respect to my job duties. There was funny business going on at work.)

And now that I’m retired and have taken up blogging, it’s a matter of juggling my waking hours between spending quality time with my wife, walking our dog, reading books, watching TV, and writing and reading blog posts.

I suppose that juggling is something that all of us do most of our lives and will continue to do until that inevitable time when there is no longer a need to juggle.

For Starters


By nature, Carl is an introvert. He’s not very sociable when it comes to interacting with other human beings. That is the primary reason he has few friends and never married. He’s always been better able to relate to dogs than to people.

Buster, a mix of German shepherd and rottweiler, is a large, somewhat intimidating looking dog. But despite his seemingly menacing appearance, Buster is a real sweetheart.

Carl loved taking Buster out for his daily walks. They would often head to the city park, which was about four blocks from Carl’s small house. The park had plenty of trails to follow and open fields on which Buster could run around off-leash.

As Buster explored and sniffed and peed on nearly every tree and most bushes, Carl would let his mind wander, daydreaming about one thing or another. The only time Carl had to pay attention to what his dog was doing was when Buster took a dump. Carl felt obliged to pick up Buster’s mess using a biodegradable poop bag and to deposit the bagged waste in the nearest trash receptacle.

On one particularly pleasant day, Carl was walking Buster in the park when the dog saw something that attracted his attention. Carl thought it was just a squirrel, a critter that always seemed to mesmerize Buster. But when Carl looked to see what his dog was gazing at, he saw a tall, slim brunette woman with a large dog, although not as large as Buster, on leash at her side. They were slowly heading toward Carl and Buster.

Consistent with his shy, introverted nature, Carl’s instinctive reaction when he saw the tall, slim brunette and her golden retriever appproaching was to yank Buster’s leash and head off in the opposite direction.

But Buster, the large and stubborn mammal that he is, would have none of it. He stood his ground, four feet solidly planted and eyes transfixed as he watched and waited for the other dog to get closer. As the woman and her dog neared, Buster started wagging his tail, tentatively at first, and then with more vigor when they arrived.

The woman appeared to be a little concerned by the size of Buster. She asked Carl, “Is your dog friendly?”

“For sure,” Carl responded, avoiding eye contact with the woman. “Yours?”

“Oh, she’s a sweetie pie,” the tall, slim brunet answered as she bent down and patted her dog on its head.

The two dogs started circling each other in order to stick their noses in each other’s butt and to take deep sniffs or licks or whatever it is that dogs do when they cozy up to other dogs’ butts.

Carl and the woman had to maneuver so that the dogs’ leashes didn’t get tangled. Feeling that he should say something, Carl thought for an instant, and finally blurted out, “It’s a good thing that’s not how humans greet each other.”

Immediately regretting having said that, Carl grit his teeth as his eyes darted around searching for a quick escape route.

The woman was kind enough to laugh at the idiocy that emanated from Carl’s lips. “Well, it certainly would be an interesting way for us to get to know one another,” she said. “Maybe we should give it a try,” she continued.

Carl heard what she said, and he thought he noticed a mischievous wink, but his lack of interpersonal skills made him unsure about how to respond. So he simply said, “Huh?”

“I said that it might be fun to get to know each other in the same way our dogs are.”

“Are you saying that we should sniff each others’ butts?”

“For starters,” she said. A broad, engaging, and slightly naughty smile lit up her face, while the two dogs continued their butt-sniffing ritual.

Today’s one-word prompt is “grit.”