Apropoo of Nothing

What IS it???!!! The most common question I get when walking our DOG.

So, this is how my morning started off:

I awoke to another brilliantly clear, sunny and warm (HOT!) day in Istanbul. The shimmering water inspired me to take our little beast from the east for her morning stroll along the Bosporus instead of the shorter neighborhood jaunt. I got us both saddled up, zipped down the hill with the car (me, my motivation, and my gluteus maximus muscles having long eschewed the mountain climbs required to get back home without four wheels) and off we went.

For about 30 seconds.

Because 30 seconds into our walk, in front of a car that was just pulling out of its parking space, Zoya decided she had to do her business.

Which meant that the car that had started to pull out of its parking space had to stop, the driver rolled his eyes heavenward as he saw Zoya assume her business position, I threw a mouthed “pardon” in response, and then we both waited (im)patiently for the deed to be done, a reluctant yet captive audience.

Which would have been fine – the slightly embarrassing moment easily forgotten when met with the blue waters sparkling at our side as we hit our stride – if Zoya hadn’t felt a need to improve her productivity, ahem, 200 meters later in front of a sidewalk cafe whose clientele breakfasting along the sea were lucky enough to witness close up (and share in the aroma).

Having a dog is not without its humbling moments.

And larger dogs seem to bring larger humbling moments.

(Did I tell you about our first month in Istanbul, when we were given temporary living at a higher-end apartment building in the center of the city? Between the building’s entrance and the tiny green patch available for Zoya’s business is one of Istanbul’s most trendy, go-to-be-seen-not-eat restaurants.

Given that we lived on the 8th floor, when Zoya had a need, it meant riding the elevator down to the lobby, crossing the marble floors, exiting the building and turning left, passing the restaurant and arriving for duty at the green patch.

But dogs have stomach upsets at times, just as people do.

The kind of upset that cannot fit into a plastic poop bag, if you get my drift.

And Zoya did one day.

Exactly at lunchtime.

We took the elevator down to the lobby.

We crossed the marble floors.

We exited the building and turned left.

We did not pass the restaurant.

We did not reach the green patch.

She didn’t make it.

Which meant that the people heading to the restaurant to have a bite of lunch had a bit of an unappetizing obstacle to avoid on their way in.

They were probably able to stick to their diets that day.)

Not to mention the times the dog dragged me behind her like a skier behind a motorboat, so intent was she to make friends with one of the many street dogs.

(And I do mean the kind of skier who has fallen but has forgotten to let go of the rope.)

Or when Zoya decided she liked a stranger so much that she would give the woman – a short, older woman wearing a conservative, ankle-length skirt – her special Black Russian Terrier I-like-you gesture, and she walked between the woman’s legs.

Or, rather, she attempted to walk between the woman’s legs, since the skirt stopped her.

Actually, it didn’t stop Zoya so much as it threw off the woman’s balance and tipped her forward into her husband’s fortunately waiting arms, compromising her modesty along the way.

Or the time Zoya tackled a friend’s dog and sent it rolling bass-ackwards down a large ravine.

Or when she showered my neighbor, in lovely silk, with affection. Affection accompanied by a full-to-the-last-drop watery beard.

You get the idea.

Oh, yes, having a dog, especially one the size of ours, has its moments.

And, as I expected when we got our little puppy, there has been a lot more laughter with her in our lives.

I just didn’t realize the laugh would be on us.


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