People who study foreign languages come across various idioms and have to learn what they mean. It can be a challenge.
Tonight, I was getting ready to take Ruby on her walk. This event is the absolute crown of Ruby’s day, she looks forward to it. She looks forward to it so much, she “knows” what the preparatory actions for the activity are. If I start putting on my shoes, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, Ruby becomes avidly interested in the fact that I now have shoes on. Picking up the car keys is also a very interesting action.
This means if I am planning on running errands in the early morning, I have a dog who is positive that she is going to be taken for a walk. If I go off to do my banking or grocery shopping and leave her behind, she is crushed. When I return, she is overjoyed.
We went on a short visit to spend the Thanksgiving holidays with Jim’s brother, who lives in Iowa. We left the animals in the care of one of our friends, who came by twice a day to feed them, play with them, and make the doors work for them. She was a fine substitute for us, but definitely not The Real Thing. We have been home for a couple of days, and every time I head out to do something, Ruby is positive that I am probably going to leave for another overnight period. Her feelings are partially assuaged by the fact that her Uncle E and Aunt M sent her a present — a bag of extremely large rawhide bones.
Of course, getting excited about shoes and car keys during the day is an exercise in futility, and Ruby does know this. We “always” go for our walk after dinner.
Consequently, the longer after dinner it has become, the more attentive she becomes to my every action. She knows that there are three things that are required for me to be ready for her walk, unlike her. She can be ready with no preparation whatsoever. But I have to have shoes on, I have to pick up the car keys, and I have to get my driver’s license out of my purse. I have tried varying the order in which I do these things, but Ruby is not fooled.
As soon as I start to motivate myself for the peregrinating activity, she gets very happy. She follows me around, I think in order to make sure that I don’t forget to do any of the things that are necessary for actual walk to occur. The simple fact that I walk into the bedroom to get a pair of socks must be overseen.
Once I have started moving about the house, she follows me. Every room, every stop, every station is accompanied by a dog. If I need to go to the bathroom before we leave, she is there. While I put my shoes on, she is sitting at my feet (sometimes on them). She follows me to the cabinet where the keys are. She is right on my heels as I remove my license from my wallet and put it in my pocket. Her toenails click on the kitchen linoleum as I get a drink of water.
It wasn’t until I had gone through these rituals of preparation that I fully realized exactly what the idiom “Dogging one’s footsteps” really meant.
But I do now.