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Walkin'

It’s not going to be a good week for Buzz.
Now 10 years old or about 80 in big-dog years, the old hound is still in pretty good shape thanks to a strict diet and regular exercise. Since he was a puppy, we’ve walked three or more miles a day, every day with only a few exceptions. In his prime, I’d estimate that for every mile I’d go Buzz would travel 10, ranging far and wide to turn up a deer, squirrel or wrapper still holding a cheeseburger molecule or two.
But for the past year or so he’s been more than happy to just walk along side with only an occasional detour to sniff something interesting. Earlier this spring he even declined a walk on an extra cold and rainy day.
Pearl– our hair-brained, 1-year-old Labradoodle– can still entice Buzz into a chase in the yard or a wrestling match on the floor – but for the most part he’s content to spend his days snoozing.
A couple days ago, however, we noticed that he was constantly licking one of his paws and closer inspection revealed a raw spot.
“He needs to go to the V, E, T,” Sabra said, spelling so as not to alarm Buzz. It didn’t work; Buzz knows spelling means nothing good. It’s similar to how the conservatives know that whatever President Obama does is bad news before thinking. But then thinking isn’t Buzz’s– or the far right’s– strong suit. The mere mention of going to the office turns Buzz into a vanishing act. His breed may have been developed to hunt lions in Africa, but Buzz is one dog that wants nothing to do with probes and shots. He even whimpers at the application of topical ointments like Frontline.
Despite his protestations, off to the vet we went where he was prescribed antibiotics and given a big plastic cone to wear around his head to keep him from licking the sore. I feared that he’d completely rebel at the deflector about his head, but he’s wearing it in resignation. It makes him very clumsy around the house and we’ll all be relieved when he gets to take it off.
But if the plastic cone isn’t bad enough, we’re also going to be gone for the next week to Denver for Sabra’s parent’s 65th anniversary (would-be home robbers note that we’ll be back by the time this is published) party.
About the only thing that displeases Buzz more than a trip to the vet is being left home while we go away. As soon as a suitcase comes out of the closet he begins moping around the house, and this time he has to mope inside his plastic cone.
To the last paragraph, this column was written in Iowa. From here out it is being finished at C.R.E.A.M., an espresso bar in Cherry Creek, a swank shopping area south of the downtown.
Across the street is the Galerie Rouge, featuring vintage European posters.
Up, down and sideways are an impressive array of clothing boutiques, coffee shops (I’ve counted three Starbucks in a six square block area), art galleries and restaurants – all with clever and unlikely names mixing misspellings, plays on words and foreign languages.
Among the shops I’ve seen this morning are:
Eccentricity, featuring leather purses big enough to carry a small pony.
Home and the Range, with kitchen appliances that look like they came off a space ship.
Le Soutien, a bra boutique along the lines of Victoria’s Secret, only more chic.
After finishing this article I’m off for a bicycle ride on the many trails that crisscross the city. I hope to time the ride so I end up at Mustard’s Last Stand, which serves authentic, Chicago-style hotdogs.
After that I thought I might drop by Le Soutien and shop for a new orange hat.
I hope Buzz is hanging in there (he is, I called) and Sabra and her mom are getting the house in shape for the big party.
Me, I’m doing my part by staying out of the way.