We meet a lot of people on our walks together.
About a week and a half ago the dogs and I amble along the harbour on our walk before dinner. It is calm. It is dark. The water is like glass.
We walk past the man who is always there with his metal stool and his red and yellow umbrellas and his standing lights and his ink sketches. Dali-meets-Escher-like sketches that are plasticized to protect against rainy days. He is proud of his work. He offers various prices for different sizes of black and white sketches of chess boards on stairs balancing on upside down trees. He always says hello and asks “what kind of dogs?” and “I remembered a biscuit today.”
On this evening an acquaintence with a green knitted cap stands in front of the ink sketch presentation. He eyes Kayloo. He makes no move to touch her:
Man with Knit Cap: What is the breed of this dog?
Me: Oh, she’s a rescue dog, we’re not quite sure.
Man with Knit Cap: [mumbles something indiscernible] … interesting… [mumbles something indiscernible]… breed…
Me: We think she is a Pitbull cross of some kind…
Man with Knit Cap: Those ears… breeders cross dogs for generations trying to get ears like hers…
Me: … Australian cattle dog… we’ve also heard she looks like a Kelpie…
Man with Knit Cap: A mix you say? With ears like that? It’s a pure bred trait. Not usual for mixed breeds…
Me: Well, she is definitely a mutt.
He makes eye contact with me for the first time. He is not very tall, but he seems tall right now. He does not like the title “mutt” and cannot hear the tenderness in my voice when I say it.
Man with Knit Cap: Oh, no. No. She is not a mutt. She is not a mutt. Those ears… it is the genes you know.
I try to reassure him that I am kind so I smile. And I pat her head.
Me: No matter what she is, we think she’s beautiful.
Man with Knit Cap: [mumbles something indiscernible]… it’s a trait, her genes. She is more like royalty…it is her genes.
Me: They stand on end like that even when she sleeps.
Man with Knit Cap: What is her name?
Man with Knit Cap: Kayloo.
He is the first one to ever get her name right on the first try.
Man with Knit Cap: Kayloo. Hmmm. Kayloo is a good name.
And then, just as we step away to continue our promenade around the harbour and wander back home where it’s warm:
Man with Knit Cap: Princess Kayloo. That is a good name.
I couldn’t agree more.