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Galen was bored today. Really bored. As in, he kept looking at me and giving loud, groany yawns before dropping his head down with a martyred sigh. I had the day off, so I decided to load him in the car and take him for a walk someplace new.

Of course, a normal person would have taken him to a nice hiking trail. I am not normal. Classify this under, "It seemed like a good idea at the time." I took him to a shopping plaza. He likes this shopping plaza, because it has a pet store. All the shrubbery around the parking lot has been visited by customers of the pet store. Plus there is a Chinese restaurant. The plaza is a great place to visit if you have a nose like a dog.

We spent some time investigating dumpsters, juniper bushes, and flowering crabapple trees. After a while, not having a nose like a dog myself, I got bored and decided to walk around the block. Galen, trusting this was going to be fun, trotted happily along next to me. Little did he know he should never, ever trust my navigational instincts. There was no block to walk around. The neighborhood is surrounded by swamp, streams, and a railroad bed. All roads lead to dead ends.

After half an hour or so of winding our way through parking lots we found ourselves back within sight of the shopping plaza. It just required us to cut through some woods. I stepped off the pavement and slipped between two trees. Galen looked at me dubiously but followed.

Within a few moments he had gotten tangled in a greenbrier vine. I freed him and took more care for the next 20 feet. Then we came to a stream. I carefully picked the narrowest spot and hopped across. I turned around and called Galen. He stared at me like I had lost my mind. I encouraged him to jump. He looked at me, looked at the stream, looked at me again, and decided I was actually serious. He studied the stream for a few moments and then daintily picked his way across the driest section.

The far side of the stream was a warring mass of greenbrier, buckthorn, dead knotweed, and dead trees. I did my best to pick openings. However, there were no paths suitable for both me and Galen. I could step over tangles of greenbrier that were impassable for Galen. He could duck under branches too low for me. I dropped the leash and let him pick his own path as I struggled to find my own. At one point I looked up to find him carefully, with a look of intense concentration, balancing himself on the trunk and limbs of a fallen tree I was also scrambling over.

Eventually we escaped the greenbrier tangle and burst triumphantly through a clump of knotweed into the plaza parking lot. Galen celebrated by peeing on a juniper planting. I found the car and took him home, where he promptly conked out until dinner time.
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