The plane flight my wife made last night from Hawaii to California was delayed about three hours because of stormy weather, and a last minute need to replace fire extinguishers on the plane that had to be flown into Lihue from Honolulu. I spent two or three hours in the middle of the night, when all was sleepy quiet, running a taxi service between Aptos and San Jose. I am accustomed to the Ben Franklin rule of bed time, down and up early. This day will feel a little longer than usual, as I come into it with part of my sleeping missing.

I added an extra hour to my alarm clock buzzer, which helped some. The dogs I am watching this week didn’t even hear the clock when it went off this morning, so I was able to stealthily get dressed and get going down the road without having to bother their slumber. I thought about Ben Franklin’s rule of early rising, and wonder if he owned any dogs, and would that change his point of view? I gave up the glories of dog ownership many years ago, finding it too difficult for me to take care of one, though I enjoyed the company of several for a few years. Dog love must be bred into the bones of an owner. Some cannot live without several licking at them all the time, while some like me see the experience as painfully troublesome.

I see people walking dogs along the beach and carrying little plastic bags full of dog crap, as though they were little purses full of precious valuables. That would ruin the thrill of being a dog owner for me. I do like dogs, but do not enjoy loosening my own energy to maintain them. I watched a dog walker on the beach last night at sunset, however, that I saw as amusing. The moment the sun slips into the sea is when I feel most inclined to settle into a meditative mood. This dog walker was engaged in a sort of dance with his dog, as the dog stood on its back legs and pranced about. I am sure the two of them were having a peak experience. Maybe I should learn to dance before the setting sun, rather than sit in quiet and passive observation. I understand how sharing the experience of living with a creature that is unsophisticated, unthinking, dependent upon me for their very existence, might help me become more grounded in a simple, natural relation with reality.

My dog sitting experience with the golden doodles I watch may conclude forever in a few more days, as the owners seek to sell this beautiful home and move to their other home in the desert of southern California. I will return to being dogless, my usual state, but I will also return to enjoying the birds and squirrels that come to my house on the edge of the forest. I will put out sunflower seeds for them, as always, but will not be chasing behind them with stinking plastic bags, or sweeping up falling hair and fur.

This is the year I separate myself from animals. No more meat eating, no more maintenance and care of animals, but just letting the wild ones entertain me.

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