There is a certain rhythm to the morning dog constitutional in the K Streets. The owners pretty much know each other, at least by sight. The dogs, of course, know each other by smell and frequently update the canine community through mass pee-mail distributions.
That’s not to say all parties get along. The small dog faction is kind of clubbish. We tend to know all the dogs’ names and there is a slight pause as we meet on the sidewalks to let our pooches do some butt whiffing. The bigger dog owners seem to march more diligently as if they have places to go, people to see and things to do. Perhaps that is because big dogs pull you along while it is the owners who have to pull their tiny pals around.
The big and small dogs generally avoid each other in an acknowledgement of asymmetrical risk. Look at it this way, if Yappy attacks Grinder, the big dog’s greatest risk is a hernia from excessive laughter. Turn the tables and the risk is that Grinder makes a snack of Yappy. Asymmetrical risk.
That’s what sets the rhythm of the street. We small dog folk time our movements to avoid broadside confrontations where little and big pups might pass within snarling range. We speed up to cross a street, jaywalk, and hide behind dumpsters so that all parties can enjoy their stroll. We spot big dogs a half a block away and choreograph our moves and pretend, yes, we really intended to make that 90 degree turn and walk into the Sorabol parking lot.
When two small dogs that are friends spot each other, the opposite rhythm occurs as the little guys joyfully take off to meet and greet and the challenge is to hold them back from dashing out into the dangerous K Streets.