I had just pulled into a parking space at the Walgreen’s in Stillwater when I saw her. A middle-aged woman in light blue scrubs was approaching the store entrance, coming from the opposite direction. A gentle, ongoing conversation with her canine companion who walked easily by her side was in progress.
As she passed the entrance, the automatic doors slid open and the dog stole a brief look inside the store. She encouraged him, however, to continue down the sidewalk a few more feet. Her companion followed her bid easily, without straining against the leash or pulling toward the entrance. His body language sent this message: “I’m here, just show me where we’re going.”
The dog’s owner approached the wooden bench outside the store, asked the dog to “sit,” looped his leash around a black iron leg, and patted his head. The medium-sized white tail began to wag furiously, a pink tongue licked his owner, and with both of her hands on his face, the owner told him she would “be back very soon.”
Swish, swish, swish. The medium-sized tail wagged against the brick wall as the dog watched his owner walk into the store. Once she was completely out of sight, he relaxed a bit and began to watch the street scene before him.
I turned off my car which was still idling due to my frequent affliction: “observer distraction syndrome.” Grabbing my purse, I headed into the store as well. I told the doggie he was “very good” as I walked by and smiled as the tail wagging began again. I believe that the tail of a dog is somewhat like a mood indicator, in reverse. A dog’s tail wags and immediately my mood is lifted. So, perhaps, a mood influencer?
My one-item shopping trip passed more quickly than the business of the woman in scrubs and I was back to my car within a few minutes. As I was loading up, the woman exited the store, made eye contact with the dog, immediately commenced the gentle conversation with him once again, and unhooked him from his waiting place.
As I turned the car on, I glanced up once more to see the scrub-clad woman and her dog disappear around the corner of the store. I looked back at the bench, now stark and empty against the neutral colored bricks.
That bench was a modern-day hitching post. The woman, a kind-hearted cowboy who had ridden into town for supplies, and the dog…her trusty horse. So what if she walked beside him instead of saddling him up?
I touched my invisible hat in a respectful tip to my fellow rancher, started my own horse and rode toward my place of work, ready to begin a new day.
Find me at the Red Dirt Chronicles…
Best, Red Dirt Kelly