Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dog Encounters

I was not pleased to be reminded that it's visitor season when I pulled up in the dog walk of the day. Each morning after work I leave home with Rusty and we take a stroll in one of several different places around the Lower Keys where I live. Rusty likes the bushes around the Old Bahia Honda checking iguana holes with his tail wagging like a flag in a stiff breeze.
The sun was having a  hard time breaking through the cloud cover but I had a good time trying to capture the curtain effect of the display. 
 Rusty was enjoying himself in his own way.
Usually the traffic that stops to admire the Old Bahia Honda Bridge pulls into a rough parking area right off the highway. A short hike along the ridge and they can snag their pictures of the crumbling bridge, get back in their cars and leave. The lower parking area, seen below, attracts a few anglers and some few adventurous types who figure the rather obscure access road.  In the summer months it's ours.
It looked like an RV lot and while I accept that some people will look for discreet ways to wild camp while visiting the expensive Keys this seemed rather over the top. A few weeks ago I wandered into the mangroves to find a full bore campsite set up where Rusty likes to hunt. I just try to ignore them and give my dig his opportunity to be a dog. 
Me with the camera and them with their impedimenta, tables chairs, stoves breakfast implements and all the detritus of a well heeled modern North American tourist spreading out in the wilderness. Then one dude appears with two leaping snarling pit bulls on short leashes. "Leash your dog!" he called. Why? I wondered as Rusty came and sat beside me as I called to him. What a well behaved dog the woman I subsequently discovered was his wife said to me as she looked at Rusty, leash-free sitting beside me watching the pit bulls gone wild.  
He came over later and talked about his dogs newly rescued and predictably not trained after a life spent barking hopelessly in a back yard. He was eager to talk so I listened to his story of making enough money to retire by working out an oilfield gizmo that made him a millionaire he said from royalties. His plans encompassed travels in their truck camper across the US with the dogs and his wife and eventually a run south so we talked about dogs and travel. He looked to be about 40, thin and white for he wore no shirt and his tattooed skin was white like alabaster in the Florida sun.
He was planning a visit to a pit bull rescue in New Orleans that I had, oddly enough, heard about. Trapped in a motel room one night I had come across a TV show featuring dog rescues by Villalobos Rescue Center where they help people out of prison rehab through dog love. It was actually cool enough I remembered it. His problem was one of his dogs wasn't adapting to a  decent life on the road and he was afraid he might need to find her a  settled home. He was working hard to repair the rescued dogs and I liked him for that. Me the middle class nerd and he the skinny meth addict who actually wasn't and had his life better organized than I did. Books and covers came to mind.
I wished Rusty could have played with the dogs but he burned off enough energy anyway he took a rawhide and settled on the deck to reflect on his morning's exercise. I did the same. 
It will be interesting I hope when we take to the back roads in a van in a few years. I see glimmers of interesting lives being lived between the RV parks and interstates.