Aki was snug and asleep when I started assembling the gear for our morning walk. Fog lay like a feather boa on top of Gastineau Channel but no clouds blocked the dark-blue ski. It was 8:30, the crack of dawn in Juneau this time of year. Asking the little dog to leave so early in the day was probably unfair. I’d had had my coffee and breakfast and a bit of a read while she dreamed of snatching bits of cheese from the breakfast her other human would eat after returning home from the swimming pool.
The poodle mix rallied and joined me on a walk to a mountain meadow. Halfway up the access road, Aki stopped and starred at me—her way of requesting a turn back. Wanting to see the sunlight break over a frosty meadow, I pushed on. When the gap between up exceeded comfort, she padded slowing after me. On the lower meadow I found a standing dead pine that bent toward the rising sun. Two lower limbs mimicked arms offering subjugation. I said, “OK little dog, you win,” and turned back. She led all the way to the car.