a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: More Walking Outside the Neighborhood

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

More Walking Outside the Neighborhood

SUMMARY: Urban Perambulation

We walked the sidewalk around the mall clockwise, from the Target parking garage at the corner of Blossom Hill and Sta. Teresa, along Blossom Hill, up Winfield, across Thornwood, and down Santa Teresa.

Yesterday I had a quick shopping stop to make on Blossom Hill, so we walked a little ways along the west side of the Guadalupe River, to the natively landscaped area behind the San Jose Water building. They've got nice signs up about many of the native plants, which I don't recall seeing in past years. Several things are still in bloom. Ought to go back with camera. I let the dogs off leash briefly along a long, straight gravel road so that I could see any distractions easily, but I didn't want to stick around too long because of the profusion of dry foxtails littering the ground.

Today I had to stop at Target at Oakridge Mall (excuse me: "Westfield Shoppingtown Oakridge Mall"). So I decided to take the dogs for a stroll around the shopping center when I was done. The whole shopping center is surrounded by a low berm, and there is sidewalk outside the berm all the way around. The berm is nicely landscaped. On the most-traveled sides, Blossom Hill and Santa Teresa, it's mostly shrubs and perennial flowers, very pretty to walk alongside even with traffic whizzing by on our left. On the less-traveled sides, the berms are mostly grass. The dogs liked the grass. When we came to our first stretch of grass, within five feet they had all stopped to pee or poo. Guess they don't like the redwood bark among the shrubberies. Of course I carry plastic bags at all times for the solid waste, but nothing I can do about the peeing. On the other hand, commercial lawns tend to be so overwatered that it's unlikely that it'll leave a spot in the grass, unlike on some private lawns, which I try to avoid.

One of my theories for doing this kind of walking is that it exposes the Booster to all kinds of noises, smells, and sights, hopefully giving her more experience to draw upon when deciding whether to be spooky. Today, she halted and did the really cautious wary thing towards the base of a utility pole. Sure enough, there was a sort of large cup-shaped fixture at the base of the pole, containing a very large dead baby bird. A block later, she did the same halt/crouch/stretch-the-nose thing at another utility pole, and sure enough, behind it there was another very large, very dead baby bird. I don't know whether birds are building nests on the tops of the poles and the babies are electrocuting themselves (didn't look feathered enough to have been wanting to leave the nest, though) or what's going on. The other two dogs didn't care at all.

The only other thing that Boost seemed slightly unsure about was a large bicycle rack, but she wasn't overly cautious, just slightly hesitant but then relaxed quickly as we approached and walked by.

In case you're wondering--it's about a mile and a half around the outside. More walking than I had planned, but it's good exercise for all of us.

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