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Trying to score some grass in Flagstaff

Ace, while enjoying the wide-open West, seems less than pleased with one of its characteristics. He — and I could be wrongly reading his mind now — is tired of the blistering hot pavement and the pebbles, large and small, that most folks around here opt for when landscaping.

He was longing last night — again I’m mind reading — for a soft green carpet to do his business, which is what led me to approach my Motel 6 neighbors two doors down after seeing they had a dog. They appeared to have been there for a while, based on the clutter in their room, so I figured they knew the ropes.

Ace and I were headed out for a walk, when I spotted them. Not wanting to alarm them or trigger a bad reaction in their dog, I shouted my question from a distance.

“Do you know where I could find some grass around here?”

“What?” the neighbor responded, not able to hear me over the traffic. I shouted louder:

“Do you know where I could find some grass around here?”

The second time I said it,  the double meaning dawned on me. Fortunately, no police cars were passing by, though, who knows, the moment could have been captured for posterity by a security camera. Big Brother is pretty much everywhere these days — from Motel 6 to your more classy joints, like Howard Johnson’s.

Fortunately, too, my motel neighbor took my question with the intended meaning and pointed us down the road, past four more motels, to the Cracker Barrel.

“Cracker Barrel’s got some good grass,” she said.

She was right. Ace sniffed it for 30 minutes, watered it three times, and gently dropped a load (subsequently scooped) upon it. By then, I was ready to get back to the room, but he lay down in it, knowing it would be more hot pavement and pebbles on the way back.

I gave him a couple more minutes, for he was right, as dogs usually are when they make us slow down. There was no hurry. We lingered a bit, inhaled a few more times.

It was good stuff.

(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)

Comments

Comment from Anne’n'Spencer
Time June 28, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Hmm. I can only observe that people in Flagstaff may be a lot smarter than people down the road in Phoenix and Scottsdale. I was amazed to learn, while visiting there, that you actually have to plant TWO lawns every year–a summer lawn and a winter lawn. Further south in Tucson, people seem to opt for xeriscaping with native desert plants, doing rock gardens and Zen raked sand and pebble sorts of things, and otherwise conserving water. Most (though by no means all) of Arizona is desert country, and lush, green lawns just aren’t a part of the desert landscape–at least not without appalling amounts of chemicals and an awful lot of wasted water. A good gardener friend once pointed out that the whole concept of the green lawn is completely foreign to much of the United States. The idea was brought here by English settlers, and in England, all you have to do for a perfect lawn is seed, water, and mow for 500 years. There are only a few places in the U.S. where this is workable, yet no matter where we are, most of us break our backs and pocketbooks in search of the elusive green lawn. It seems to me that there must be some comfortable alternative for dogs who need to take care of business and refresh themselves. I’m just not sure of what it would be. I seem to recall a lot of beautiful green pasture and grass immediately to the north of Flagstaff and up at around 9,000 or so feet in elevation. Maybe you and Ace need to take a break in some lofty country.

Comment from cyndi
Time June 28, 2010 at 5:57 pm

When we first moved to dirtville, I thought my older dog would NEVER get around to doing his business, due to the lack of green. along the same lines, he always had trouble transitioning into winter and snow for the same reason.

When I go back east, My dogs and I are soooooo happy just to sit in the shade of the tree in the grass. Oh and roaching…yeah, they don’t do that in between visits, either.

Comment from Kelly
Time June 29, 2010 at 5:35 am

You made me think of dear old Bob. He insisted on grass for pooping. After his 1st snow (he was 7 months old), he didn’t go for 2 days! When I finally figured out what his problem was, I had to dig down to the grass, where he finally let go. I’ll never forget that grateful look in his eyes.

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