The dogs wait on me to walk them. I have extended their hours of torture, time inside, to adjust to the time change. I did it over the course of a month, so the little darlings don't suffer too much. The cats tell me that they are unnerved in long howls from the bathroom at night. I keep the heater on in there, and they console themselves by sitting near it and singing me the long, hot yowl that all unfortunate cat companions know. The, " 'I am lost and lonely and need my pillows fluffed...' " dialogue that all felines engage in at 3 in the morning.
The sun burns off the clouds left over from the misty day, yesterday. I can always tell the weather by Max, the dog. He will not walk in the rain. But yesterday, there was a small break in the cool mist and he got hold of his harness, and down the road he went. I needed the walk.
The trees are losing their leaves, all orange and gold and yellow, and this year, red. They make a shuffling sound as we walk, and Max's nose plows through them, like an arctic ship breaking the ice. Katie, bred as a companion dog to Chinese concubines, lowers her tiny nose to the ground and follows his lead...
The coffee is fine this morning. Katie, the black foster pug, is a year old, and has never seen a fall before. Max is training her to be a hunting dog. She would be good at agility trials, but this morning she cuddles up to my leg. She is a year old, and her black fur is sleek as silk. She is warm, and smells, faintly, of puppy breath.
Max is my service dog. We are bonded, and he knows how to make me take him for a walk. He knows how to ground me. He is not perfect on the leash. When we go out, he understands that he is "off leash" and it's playtime. He is entirely predictable. He is a good service dog. By breed, he is a mix of farm dog (Corgi) and hunter (Beagle). Max is steady and slow in the harness. Katie is a butterfly on the leash and only my hand on the lime green loop of the handle keeps her on the ground.