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Kudzu dogs and trivial pursuits

Remember that kudzu dog I showed you a few weeks back?

The one I encountered in Alabama?

This one:

It turns out he has friends. In my travels through the south and the trip back to Baltimore, I kept seeing dogs in the kudzu.

Maybe it was just the power of suggestion — that after seeing that first one, it made me tend to see more, whether they were there or not. Perhaps one sees in kudzu what they want to see, or perhaps I’ve been writing about dogs too long. I became a little obsessed with kudzu dogs, making u-turns to go back for a second look, pulling off on the narrow shoulders of highways to take pictures as big trucks rumbled by and made the car shake.

It led to some reflection — some self-questioning, at which I am a master. I’d hate to die while taking pictures of kudzu dogs. It’s not exactly a noble cause. Maybe, it made me think, it’s time to get a real job.

I thought: Here I am, a 56 — soon to be 57 — year-old man, spending his day looking for kudzu dogs, as opposed to, say, being assistant vice president of somethingoranother. Have I traveled too far down Whimsy Road? Is it time to drop the gypsy thing and get serious and responsible — get a job and home, settle down and shut the heck up? It was one of those look in the (rearview) mirror moments.

But when I looked in the mirror I saw — in addition to me, and that I needed to shave, and Ace — a clump of kudzu back down the road a piece that looked exactly like Snoopy.

So I got back on the highway, made two more u-turns and took some more pictures as big trucks rumbled by.

Then I proceeded north, still questioning myself — and still seeing dogs in the kudzu:

Stop looking for dogs in kudzu, I told myself. I couldn’t do it. I wondered if it might be a disorder of some sort, or perhaps a sign that, whimsical though it is, I should pursue my plans to establish the Kud-Zoo.

Maybe it’s just because I’m a dog writer that I’m seeing dogs in the kudzu. Elephant or giraffe writers might look at the same clump and see  elephants or giraffes i the kudzu. But they sure look like dogs to me. This one (left), for instance, is clearly a kudzu poodle. See his little paws? He appears to be licking them, or maybe trying to remove a burr.

I don’t want to spend the rest of my like looking for dogs in kudzu, but I fear — to some extent — I will. Maybe it’s not an entirely bad thing.

There are worse compulsions.

And it’s not like I’m doctoring any photographs. All of the above are “unretouched,” as they say. Nothing has been manipulated. That would be wrong, and, given my photoshopping skills, detectable.

And it would make my situation only more pitiful yet — that of a man spending half his life looking for dogs in kudzu, half of it taking photos of them, and half of it retouching those photos so they look even more like dogs.

And that just wouldn’t add up to much of a life at all.

(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America.)


Comment from Kelly
Time August 27, 2010 at 7:45 am

I vote for the Kud Zoo

Comment from Sue
Time August 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

Please. More kudzu. More dogs in kudzu. More reflections on looking for dogs in kudzu. More gypsy wandering. More Ace in gypsy locales. More dog friendly encounters. Please. (Have you contacted the peeps at who are in charge of the rv industry advertising? They SHOULD be interested in dog friendly rving… RVing with a dog would make a great book… just saying 😉 )

Comment from Sue
Time August 27, 2010 at 9:18 am

Forgot to add this… Go RVing is located in Reston, VA. Are you still in VA? Bet Ace would like to talk to these people.

Comment from Derek
Time August 27, 2010 at 9:48 am

Definitely against you turning off Whimsy Road! VP of Somethingoranother sounds great, but its overdone and borrrring, and would probably result in much less time hanging with Ace. He, along with us readers, would be devastated.

Comment from selkie
Time August 27, 2010 at 11:44 am

Actually, I see an elephant rearing on its hind legs with its trunk in the air in the first one – I also, however, do see the dogs in the other ones.

Being responsible and having standard garden variety lives is vastly over-rated..

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