Kafka and I had a rough night last night, and the last thing I wanted to do today was take him on a long dog walk.
Last night, he barked, he howled, he had a pee accident for the first time in ages (I blame us "over-watering" him since it was really hot out), and to put it bluntly and honestly, his anal gland did that explosion thing... which Kafka proceeded to lick at for about a half hour around 3 am. And then I woke at 4:30 to go to the bathroom, and Kafka decided, hey! It's time for me to get up too! So long story short, it was a long night for us, and I haven't been in the best of moods all day.
But then I got home from a long, tiring day at work, and the weather was perfect for a walk.
Kafka the bulldog can be particular about when he goes on long dog walks. Around 65 degrees is ideal for him, but he'll be okay up to about 70. He also has to be in the mood. Get him at the wrong time, and all he'll do is plant himself in the grass and refuse to budge (and only a treat will draw him back inside). So the walking conditions were perfect, despite the fact that I was exhausted.
With how crazy this summer weather has been, I figured if Kafka is up for a walk, I could be too. And I'm glad I decided that. We did a long mile loop -- something that Kafka rarely does as he grows older (if you can call a 2-year-old old). He saw some neighbors he's only met a couple times, and her boys happily played with him... and taunted him with their basketball.
We trotted for awhile, and Kafka greeted a whole family. "Enjoy every moment with him," the mother said after telling me about how her own bulldog had recently passed away. She even gave him a icecube to nosh on (which was probably one reason he had a successful walk).
Kafka also met a 9-week-old puppy -- a French bulldog and Boston Terrier mix named "Beef" -- and happily stood still while every last inch of him was sniffed.
Of course there was also the moment when an adult dog growled at him, and Kafka started shaking and barking that scary deep bark he does when he's either scared or protective. But within moments I calmed him by making him focus on me instead, and we were back on our merry way.
He met yet another family, and even with five hands on him at once, he ate up every last bit of attention -- even though the grandmother thought his name was "Tonka."
And then we got back to our block, and just five houses away, my heart melted. Two girls, who visit their grandmother and play with Kafka regularly, were at the ready with loads of pets and "oohs" and "aahs" for him, and one of the neighbor boys decided to join in. Kafka sat there, his tongue lolling out, soaking up all the attention. He did jump every once in awhile at the boy -- something we're constantly working on -- but then I taught all the kids something.
"Tell him 'sit,'" I said. And then they all started chanting "sit." Sure enough, Kafka plopped down. But then they'd move, as kids always do, and Kafka would jump up again.
"Sit, sit, sit!" they'd chant til Kafka sat again. And when they heard me say, "Stay," they started chanting that command too.
I'm pretty sure Kafka didn't quite get why kids were yelling commands at him, but he kept listening to them, for the most part. And then I took out the treats, and Kafka definitely sat and stayed while the youngest of the girls tossed him a treat.
Kafka was thrilled with his long dog walk, and I walked away smiling, my heart happy. I spent the day in a horrible mood, but despite being exhausted, all it took was that walk with Kafka to lift my spirits.
And now, please excuse me, Kafka's done recovering from his walk, and he's pushing a toy against my legs. Somebody's ready to play.
For more cute dog stories, pictures, and videos of Kafka the bulldog and his canine friends, subscribe to my posts. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.