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Animal whisperer, I am not

On my way home from the skytrain after knitting group tonight I watched a skunk cross the road half a block in front of me. I slowed down hoping that we wouldn’t cross paths, but when I approached, I found that it was standing under a tree maybe three feet from the sidewalk. I decided to give it as wide a berth as I could and stepped across the grass to the curb.

It noticed me, though, and it bristled, alert. I stopped. It stared. Neither of us moved.

We were at a standstill. “Mind if I call you Mark?” I said. It didn’t break eye contact. I continued.

“Look, Mark, I don’t really want to bother you. I just want to get home. If you could just let me by it would be much appreciated.”

Mark continued to stare at me. I took a step forward on the edge of the curb. Mark tensed, his tail up.

“Okay, then. Well, have a nice night, okay?” I beat a hasty retreat.

I considered crossing the street but the people in the house across the street have a large dog that isn’t always tied up. A couple weeks ago it ran after me, barking. I didn’t speed up. I walked a couple paces forward and turned around to face it, my hand on my umbrella. The dog stopped and growled at me. I stared for a bit and then walked away.

I’m not really scared of big dogs much, but I don’t really want to do that again.

Instead I took a big dog leg down a street that seemed very well lit and quiet but for some strange reason it creeped me out. I heard something rustle in the bushes at one point, and it was only then that I realized how jumpy I was. I just walked faster.

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