If only I could get into his mind and understand what he#8217;s doing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 14, 2006

As many of you know, Martha and I have our fair share of animals – seven to be exact. Each of them has its own personality and certain mannerisms that make them unique.

I just wish I could understand what they are doing, or at least thinking.

Take Sunday night for instance.

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Our 13-year-old lab mix, Spooge, began walking in circles. And these were not the kind of circles a dog completes prior to lying down.

He began in the living room, walked into the dining room, then the kitchen, continued on through the hallway, and returned to the living room.

After the second or third trip through, Martha began looking at her watch, timing him, much like a NASCAR crew chief would his driver.

Spooge is getting old, and having had surgery on both rear legs, he doesn’t move like he used to. It took him about 35 seconds to make the trip.

As he crossed the “finish line” and began another circuit, he would look up at us as if to say something … and then he was gone.

At first I figured he needed to go outside, but he had just come in a few short minutes before.

He made about six trips through the house.

On his last one … we didn’t know it would be … he disappeared into the dining room and didn’t reappear on the other side. Martha and I looked at each other, wondering what had happened.

About that time, he came into the living room, from the dining room, having reversed his direction of travel. It was much like Alan Kulwicki did some years ago after winning a NASCAR race. He turned his car around and drove the distance of the track counterclockwise. He called it a “Polish victory lap.”

That made me wonder. Had Spooge been playing racecar driver? Had he completed the requisite number of laps and won the race in his head? And if so, was he performing a Polish victory lap?

Since he isn’t talking, I guess we’ll never know. But there are times I wish I did. It would not only make my life a lot easier, it would make it more interesting.

How about a pedestrian sign?

I was walking to the office yesterday and decided to cross West Washington Street (in front of New York New York) in the middle, where there is an established pedestrian crosswalk.

As I stood there, at the edge of the parked cars, totally visible to those driving along the street, I wondered how long it would be before somebody obeyed the law and stopped for me.

It is my understanding, after all, that in Virginia, and probably most states, drivers are required to stop and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Well, apparently there are at least 12 drivers in Suffolk who do not know about that rule.

The cars kept coming from both directions, with none of them stopping to allow me to cross.

Some of the drivers even looked at me as they passed, so I know they saw me.

There is a crosswalk painted there, but it could be better.

I suggest the city erect signs that say “Pedestrian Crossing,” or even put up those flashing yellow lights that warn drivers what is ahead.

I’ll bet if a police officer stationed himself or herself there for just 30 minutes, they could fill whatever quota of traffic tickets they have for that day. Or maybe even that week.

It is dangerous enough to cross any street, but even worse when drivers do not obey the law.

Is there anybody out there who can help me … help us, in this matter?

Let’s see … who is the councilman who represents downtown?

Grant is the managing editor of the News-Herald. Contact him at doug.grant@suffolknewsherald.com, or call 934-9603