This may alarm some readers, but I am no huge fan of gin. Something about the Christmas tree taste turns me off—although pine is one of my favorite scents, I've never had the desire to grab a cone and start noshing (or quaffing for that matter). After some cursory research, I found that the juniper berry is not actually berry but actually the female seed cone of the juniper tree. Essentially it is a very small, tightly wound pinecone. So you're drinking pinecone tea when you enjoy a gin martini. Congratulations.
So with that educational tirade out of the way, I can now officially say that Juniper the dog is the ONLY juniper that I do currently enjoy. In fact, she's a bit of a tightly wound pinecone herself. Juniper is an Australian shepherd/collie mix of some sort as far as I can tell, with a lil bobbed tail and a penchant for good, long, ACTIVE walkin'. I have just recently began walking her, and it's already quite the lovefest. She's always super psyched to see me wander into her dojo and is super eager to get her leash on and JUST GET ON WITH THE OUTSIDE TIMES OKAY SEAN? Sometimes when she's really very quite too much excited, she can piddle a teeny bit on the floor—but honestly, who among us isn't guilty of that from time to time? On the rare occasions when that does happen it's always barely a thimble full, so it takes roughly one paper towel to clean up and then we're out and about.
The picture above (above and to the right? I'm never sure how this website renders on peoples' various devices) is what happens when we cease our stroll for really any reason at all. First we stop moving, then Juniper sits, then she twists her jaunty lil frame up like a damn pretzel to get some good scratchin' (read: lightly kicking herself in the head and neck) in. It's very reliable and very cute to watch. I always pitch in with some head scratches when this happens. Although, when walkin' a spark plug like Juniper, it's best to keep moving.
Juniper takes time on our strolls to investigate every squirrel, construction worker, puddle, pigeon, or presumed morsel of food that enters her range of vision. If you give her too much lead on the leash, she will saunter up to all these distractions and either pounce at (squirrel, pigeon, morsel of food) or jump onto (construction worker, puddle). She's never gotten close to actually getting a squirrel, pigeon, or morsel of food, but she gives it the ol' college try. She has popped up on the legs of a construction worker a few times, but luckily she's so damn cute that no one ever minds. The puddles I'd rather not speak of, given the proclivity of Chicago's skies to open up and curse me with sheets of water whenever I speak ill of them.
Also, related to Juniper's investigatory spirit, if YOU ever have the opportunity to walk her—which is admittedly probably close to a 0% chance unless of course you are her owner reading this—you should definitely try this (in convenient bullet form!):
- Stop in your tracks
- Say "Hey! Hey Juniper!" to Juniper
- Wait as she cranes her neck and beams at you
- Wait more as she gathers the energy to spring up at you like a portly kid with Moon Shoes
- Brace for impact
- Enjoy as Juniper maniacally hugs and attempts to lick you as long as you deem necessary
- Return to your regularly scheduled walk
The three photos above represent the evolution of the bulleted list from above. I was unable to take a picture of her hugging and jumping and licking because my phone was nearly knocked from my hand shortly after the third photo in the series. As I said before, Juniper is a relatively new walk so this jumpy lil relationship should only get better from here on out. Expect a check in with her in the near future, I can't wait to see how she enjoys the actual summer weather in Chicago. I imagine it will be ADORABLE.
Three cheers for Juniper's energetic friendliness!