Canine chums and flying under the radar

January 31, 2013 09:02 am

Some people are conspicuous by nature; others of us come by it accidentally.

Most of my flying under the radar is, I suppose, because at 5 foot I am under the radar. 

On a Saturday morning at a Boulder, Colo., grocery store I asked, “May I have a pound of bacon?” The butcher kept his back to me for several moments before I repeated my request. “MAY I HAVE A POUND OF BACON?” This time he replied, “I heard you the first time, but didn’t see you.”

One of the store’s sister markets had a meat counter that was taller than I, so I refused to shop there.

However, having my mug next to my column raised my level of conspicuousness a couple years ago. My editor, Ted, said that would happen. I wasn’t thrilled with having a photo run with the column, but that’s the rule.

This weekend I ran into a gentleman whom I see out and about fairly often. Bracing myself for his joke about carrying my “real reporter’s notebook” — yes, it says so on the cover — he switched tactics and said, “There’s the dog lover!”


Later that night I attended the chamber banquet and while one source teased me his wife interjected with some of my known antics like skiing and swimming up the Lostine Canyon with … my dogs.

I know my neighbors recognize me best when we travel up the lane en masse. The red menace and the old guy are well-known for greeting drivers, horseback riders, pedestrians and the ranchers in the neighborhood as they pass by.

Finnegan, my chocolate lab who turns 14 next month, was such an adorable puppy he literally stopped traffic. He got countless compliments on runs and walks until the mini chow showed up one day and crawled on top of Finn’s head, claiming him for her own.

The three of us walked the trails of Forest Park and Laurelhurst while visiting my parents in Portland where the wee pup got plenty of attention, including a comment from one passer-by who declared, “Cuteness on a rope!”

One Easter I was deathly ill with a strain of bronchitis that would not release its grips enough for me to get out of bed. I asked a friend to take the dogs for a walk and from a stash of lavender ribbon, I tied a bow around each of their necks. Not one person walked by without saying, “Oh! How cute,” embarrassing both dogs and walker.

But it’s not just my dogs. I have dog friends with whom I am quite attached all over. This weekend I get to visit not only Peekay, my brother’s dog, whom I’ve known since he was a few weeks old, but I get to meet his new sister, Mazzy.

Monday I was asked to stop by an office for a story and I realized I would get to see my newest canine buddy, but he wasn’t there. His mother took an emergency trip to somewhere called, “Vegas, Baby,” so I was denied my puppy-cuddling fix.

No matter. Red was warming my seat when I got back to the car. When we arrived home, she sprung out the door for a romp and returned with a fresh manure necklace. Finn barked for his dinner, and we settled in for the night.