The other day the Disreputable Dog and I were on our way for our usual evening walk in the woods. I was lost in thought, decompressing from the day, and wasn't paying particularly close attention to my surroundings when suddenly the Disreputable Dog came to a complete stop. His nose stretched up as far as it could, every muscle taut as the string of a bow, one foot paused in mid-step. This brought me to a halt behind him as well. "What's up?" I asked him. In response he tucked his tail down and turned heal back the way we came. I stared at him for a moment then followed suit. I thought perhaps he take another loop but he headed completely out and away towards home. I didn't question him - there's not a lot that gives him pause but I figure if he sensed something we didn't want to mess with he had his reasons. I tried to think of what would make him act like that - a young black bear or moose wouldn't make him react like that. I could only guess that maybe there was an old grizzly or perhaps a wolverine up the trail. But whatever it was, I wasn't over eager to find out after watching the body language of the Disreputable Dog.
So instead we headed over to the shoreline which has been abandoned by all the RVs and campers. The evening was so still that I could hear the rasp of teeth as a sea otter chewed on a mollusk, hear the clinking as it broke the shell open. The quiet, soulful eyes of a seal peered over the lip of the water starring at us while a playful group of young juvenile male Steller seal lions got up to mischief further up the coast. The Disreputable Dog was playful, tossing sticks in the air and sniffing at the dead fish, gallivanting through the fallen leaves as if he had gotten a reprieve, the cold nipping at our cheeks. I am grateful to the Disreputable Dog for his company, for his alertness when I am less then I should be, for his light playfulness at the end of long days, for always being willing to go on a walk.