Dog Continues Weighing Pros, Cons of Coronavirus Shutdown

Dog Continues Weighing Pros, Cons of Coronavirus Shutdown

Life is always full of pluses and minuses. On the plus side our streets are cleaner. On the minus side I haven’t seen a partially eaten burrito in weeks! You can no longer count on an evening’s stroll to find fast-food containers with fries or burger remnants sitting by the wayside. This virus is really taking a toll on my secret pleasures.

More people are out walking while covering their faces; the old man follows suit. You have to look at the eyes to see whether people are smiling. (The old man tells me they are called smizes.) Our walks should be called dodges. We suddenly cross a street to avoid a fellow pedestrian, and we frequently end up walking in the middle of a quiet street. No one seems to mind.

On our dodges it is hard to not notice spring. Bees are everywhere enjoying the purple flowering bushes at Grand Marina and beyond. Baby squirrels are tentatively exploring our parks and trees. (One must be respectful and let the little ones be, but they will grow up!) Spring it is. Flowers are blooming and the old man is sneezing (still masked, he covers his face). I’ve spied a dove sitting on her nest in the tree next to our deck. There are reports of an owl at Littlejohn Park.

The old man and I are pleased. We are finally going to the farmers market again. It has changed, but there is joy in the air. I am not sure who is happier to see each other the shoppers or the vendors. Face masks and gloves abound. Even from my leashed parking spot outside the market I can see the yellow tape on all the booths. Customers point, and vendors hand over their produce. A minus for now is no one stops to pet me and we can’t visit our friend Greg.

A real plus is barking is suddenly allowed and even encouraged. When someone drops a box on our front porch I let them have it. My alert has the old ones running to the door. I even get a “good boy” for barking.

Old lady Queener is acting strange these days — door knobs, switches, drawers, anything you can turn, flick or pull she is wiping it down. (Fortunately not me) She seems to be enjoying her new pastime and an old motto has been reborn, “Cleaner with Queener.”

More pluses and minuses: I am not allowed to sniff or play with my fellow canines these days except for Chili and only in his fenced-in backyard. A hybrid like me, Chili is a Danish Swedish farm dog, white with black patches, short and quick. The old man stays outside their fence (at a safe distance) and yacks with Chili’s parents. The plus, Chili and I rocket around the yard. The minus, after Chili wears me out, we walk home and I promptly get a bath.

The old man’s mood seems to be improving. We regularly sit on our Pacific Avenue porch watching and commenting on the mostly masked parade that goes by. He and the neighbors are actually getting out of hand. I used to get yelled at for barking, but now every night when sunset approaches my sensitive ears are assaulted because the old man and the neighbors decide to make a ton of noise together. They bang pots and drums. 

A guitar, a trumpet, an accordion and, even occasionally, an organ are played. People stand on their porches and clap. It seems like everyone comes outside to make some noise. Some of these folks I have never seen before. To top it off our block leader, Kathy, and neighbor Megan show off their hula hoop skills. I’ll let you figure out the pluses and minuses here.

Alameda is showing some signs of its old self again, freeway noise is up and a few workers bang away at the old Del Monte warehouse. Meanwhile we have gotten to know our neighbors and city a little better, but when it is safe to do so again, I for one am looking forward to a run in the dog park again.

Stay safe everyone!

— Respectfully typed by Rudy’s sidekick John Platt

Editor’s note: Due to a production error, not all of Rudy’s musings appeared last week. This is the entire work of doggerel.