Dax stared at me in disbelief. I am the Treat Lady, and I had no treats. It was inexplicable.
Dax is one of my regular customers. He is a young black dog with a lot of energy. His sister, Zia, is a little older and has the uncanny ability to find me with or without her owner anywhere in the vicinity. On this particular day, Dax was with his owner on a run and he was beside himself to suddenly encounter the Treat Lady, without even the help of his resourceful sister. Dax was over the moon. That’s when I discovered I had no treats.
We’ve had the kind of weather that makes it hard to dress for my daily hike. If the wind is blowing or the sun goes under a cloud, the temperature becomes irrelevant, so I’ve been dressing warmer than necessary then peeling off what I don’t need. That’s what I was doing when I lost my “treat bag.”
In reality, my treat bag is some sort of tattered old passport bag, I believe. It hangs around my neck and is the perfect size for a little notebook, a pen, a couple of business cards, and a small Ziplock bag just large enough to hold eight dog treats. A seven-dog day is the record, so I feel safely provisioned with eight treats.
But somehow in the shedding of my bright red sweater, the treat bag went flying and I didn’t even notice. I continued to walk until I encountered Dax and discovered, to my consternation, I no longer had any treats.
I was not going to walk back two miles to fetch that old bag.
I had already harvested all the good ideas out of the notebook. I would lose six treats and a serviceable pen. I knew, with those treats inside, some critter would likely make off with my bag. No great loss, I figured.
“I’ll give you an extra treat when I see you next,” I told Dax. He was still staring at me uncomprehendingly. The Treat Lady was failing in her one and only duty.
An hour after I got home, my phone rang.
“Is this Carrie?”
“This is Laura. You know me and my dog, Miley.”
I searched my mental database for a Laura and Miley and came up blank. This does not mean much. I have been giving out dog treats for 10 months now. I usually remember the names of the dogs, but I frequently forget the names of their owners.
“I’ve got your bag!”
“My treat bag!”
“Yes! My son-in-law found it on the trail.” We arranged for her to hang it on her doorknob so I could pick it up the following day.
I picked up my bag and two days later, I saw Dax again. He was with Zia and they both got a treat from my old treat bag. (Although I reneged on my promise of an extra treat because Zia would never have understood).
And I realized that while my treat bag has seen better days, its worth is hard to measure.
The dog owners think I am doing something nice for their dogs when it is entirely the other way around. I don’t have a dog. And yet, every day, dogs kiss me on the face and nuzzle my hand and smile at me in that way that only dogs can. I am enriched beyond measure — all for the price of a treat.
I left Dax and continued my hike. It ended up being a six-dog day. It was a very good day.
Till next time,
Carrie Carrie Classon’s memoir is called, “Blue Yarn.” Learn more at CarrieClasson.com.