The dog and I took a walk today–2.7692 miles if a map of the route is to be trusted. The dog, who also answers most of the time to the name Scout, has been here just over two years. I’ve been mentally working up a statistical profile of his life since he joined our household. Just a rough idea of the major points:
Walks: Scout is some kind of mix–probably border collie and a bigger dog called a flat-coated retriever. His appearance says so for one thing. And for another, flat-coats are reputed to be calmer than collies, and Scout is generally very calm. Of course, the daily walking regimen has something to do with it. Since we were sure when we found him that we had a dog that needed a lot of exercise on our hands, we’ve made sure he gets out for three or four walks a day, every day. All told, he probably averages a couple hours a day out with us. And if we cover between 2.5 and 3 miles per hour, that means he (and we–though Kate and I generally split the walks) put in 5 or 6 miles a day with the dog. Over two years, 730 days-plus, that comes to somewhere between 3,600 and 4,300 miles.
Food: He gets something like 3/4s of a pound of food a day (mostly dry), not counting stray corn chips from the kitchen floor, sidewalk snacks, and daily lawn grazing (he’s got an amazing nose for food that others no longer have any use for). Over 730 days, we’re talking about 540 pounds of dry food. (You look at his 55-pound body and wonder where it goes. Stay tuned.)
Food–the Sequel: In Berkeley and other places that kid themselves they’re civilized, it’s the law that you have to pick up your dog’s dumps (prized though they may be by discriminating members of the strolling public). The accessory of choice for this chore is the little plastic bags that home-delivery newspapers come in. In some city parks, it’s common to see garbage cans full of tied-off New York Times delivery bags; in some city parks, there are special self-locking receptacles for this kind of refuse (I often think about what a future civilization–the one we imagine pawing through our garbage dumps in 2,000 years–will make of the garbage strata that contains all the nicely wrapped dog crap; I also wonder how long the nicely wrapped crap will maintain its freshness for future garbologists).
OK–all those walks I mentioned above are punctuated by stops. Stops for Scout to inhale the fragrance of his kind and to add his own to the mix; stops for squirrel staredowns; stops for unexplained noises in the bushes; stops to sample discarded school lunches; and stops to crap. No, I don’t weigh the crap. But my impression is that Scout performs this function dependably two or three times a day (never inside, and that’s a fact; the one time he came close, we were staying in a motel; he work me up in the middle of the night to take him outside). Let’s say he goes 2.5 times a day. So over 730 days, that’s … 1,825 responsibly retrieved and wrapped up dog leavings.
And on that note, I’ll also wrap up this tour of the quantitative dog’s life. (Though I wonder if I can figure out how many bales of fur he’s left around the house in the last two years.)