First things first, in no way is the subpar sitcom starring Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt related to the lil ball of introverted sweetness that is Maddie the terrier. I am just getting over the headcold from hell, and my cup of puns and pop culture references has runneth a bit dry. Maddie is probably more like Tony Shaloub from Monk, but way cuter. Meaning, she can be a bit idiosyncratic and introverted, but you can't help but give her Emmy after Emmy after Emmy. Maybe my fever is still working its confusing magic.
Anyways, esoteric television references aside, Maddie is great! It took a little while for me to really "get" her, in that she was very affectionate towards me but seemed unwilling to leave the relative comfort of her apartment (...how does she afford the rent? She doesn't even have thumbs). We got around that little impediment in the way you get around everything with doggos: the much vaunted TREAT. After offering one of those bone-shaped bits of kibble to Maddie, she barely noticed that I attached her leash and whisked her out into the hallway.
Maddie also does this thing that I've noticed is common to particularly anxious terriers (and strange children) where she will spin around in circles when she is unsure of anything. In this case, being in the hallway instead of in her apartment. She will also longingly gaze back at the apartment door over her wee shoulder, like a canine wife of Lot. I try to blow by this anxiety with some friendly bluster:
ME: "Nice hallway we have here, eh Maddie?"
MADDIE: *spinning in circles*
ME: "I really like what they've done with these stair runners!"
MADDIE: *SPINNING INTENSIFIES*
ME: "And just LOOK at that wainscoting! Tremendous!"
MADDIE: "That's just floor moulding you plebian, get a clue."
What Maddie lacks in confidence, she makes up for in knowledge of interior design.
Once we're actually outside, things go more smoothly. I always start the walk like Michael Johnson off the block, speeding away from the comforting sight of the apartment's front door as quickly as is comfortable. Now, I don't have children, but I imagine that Maddie is feeling the same thing that a lil tyke would feel leaving home for Kindergarten for the first time: a little scared, a little excited, limited control over one's urine, etc. etc. Luckily for Maddie, that last one is covered.
We bop around the streets for a while, Maddie sniffin' on some leaves and brush, throwing the occasional spin move at the errant squirrel, just doin' terrier things. It does amaze me how cool Maddie is with the outside world after being so reticent just 12 minutes before. And because my mind runs like aforementioned Michael Johnson when I'm out walkin' dags, I extrapolate this experience to my own life. As I'm sure is true of all of you, there are days when you just don't want to leave your house; perhaps you're hungover, or maybe you have a stressful day at work waiting for you, or maybe you just don't want to deal with the random lottery of meaningless tragedy and series of near escapes that some days seem bound to hold. The trick is just to get out your front door real quick and don't turn back. Just pretend that you're Maddie—canine wife of Lot—but unlike her, you don't want to turn into that proverbial pillar of salt.
Now if that isn't some SAPPY armchair philosophy I don't know what is, but it is truly what spins through my head when I'm out walking dogs. And what better place than here to write about it? So raise a glass (or mug of coffee, it is early when I'm publishing this) to Maddie, may we all have the courage to stumble out our front doors—even if we don't really want to.