As part of a Fusebox Festival Kickstarter.com campaign reward in Austin, Texas, writer Timothy Braun designed four personalized walking adventures for the dogs of donors. This is the second of a four part series.
I came to Whisky’s house at 9:00am on a Saturday morning. As I arrived a Fritz and The Tantrums song was blaring from the neighborhood. Whisky’s owner, Dani-a musician in “Bird&Anchors”, attached a pink harness and sternly warned “Don’t let her off the leash. You’ll never see her again.” Whisky is a good-sized mutt, possessing what physicists call “energy.” She is all tongue and a wagging tail, and behaves like a sorority pledge. To put this into context, I am old, or at least I feel old, especially on a Saturday morning. It took less than a second for the dog to leap into the passenger seat of my truck, as if she owned it.
I took Whisky to Zilker Park, a legendary wide-open space in the heart of Austin known for hosting large-scale music events and an annual kite festival. We parked by a sweet smelling pizzeria and hopped on an elegant hiking trail often smothered in pedestrians, cyclists, and dogs-upon-dogs-upon-dogs. Whisky barked at birds, turtles, and fishermen, wrestled with a blue heeler, licked the dozens of children who tried to pet her as if they were covered in marshmallow, and chased a young lady in neon yellow shorts. That lady had angel wings tattooed to her shoulders. Whisky thought she was a sparrow, I suppose.
We went to the top of a rock formation over-looking the city and found a lonely boxer with a rope around its neck tied to a tree branch, like a criminal. Whisky became calm and felt sorry for the dog. In my younger and more sensitive years I would have “liberated” the dog to give Whisky a playmate, maybe even pick a fight with its owner, but self-control got the better of me. We said good-bye and on our walk back to my truck Whisky successfully defended me from a plastic covered fire hydrant, which, in fairness, looked like a dead smurf. At my age one needs protect from plastic.
When I opened the door to my truck and told her it was time to go she protested, and it took me four minutes to get Whisky into the cab. When I did she sat in the drivers seat, just the way she had all morning long. I crawled into the passenger side and turned the radio on. We listened to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and smelled the pizza from across the street. I wondered if maybe we should cut that boxer free. Whisky had that effect on me, making me feel like I was young again. On our way home Whisky didn’t wag her tail once. She was focused and calm, and I took her leash off, even tough her owner said not to.