It isn’t until we’re turning away, us to continue our run and she to head home, that I realize we’ve never exchanged names.
Dogs’ names, yes. Breeds, behavior, health concerns with the one bulldog’s eyes, how they play? Yes. Our two dogs have sniffed butts and ears and genitals (and how Crockett jumped when Brutus pushed his enormous square bulldog head under his belly!), they’ve tensed and snorted and finally decided they were friends and Brutus had slobbered on Crockett’s back, but we didn’t know each other’s names.
Our own introductions were an after thought.
I pass her often, walking one or both of her English bulldogs. The dogs have watched each other from across the street, Crockett eager or anxious and alert. Some dogs he ignores, others he strains against this collar. The bulldogs were ones he’s always wanted to see.
This day she called out, wondering what kind of dog he is (that’s the most common question we get when we walk with him). After establishing that he’s not aggressive, she crossed the street and the dog butt-sniffing began.
Our own brief conversation was entirely centered around the dogs, punctuated by pauses to untangle leashes or encourage one or the other dog to calm down. And when we went our separate ways we nearly let it stay that way, known only as Crockett’s (or Brutus’) owner.
I think, if you asked either of them, that’s all that really mattered anyway.