My little green pok-a-dot slip-ons squished through emerald moss as I walked my dog, Sophie-Bea, down through the field at Hacker’s Hill. Usually the grass is tall and provides a hiding place, my favorite sitting spot, on a flat granite ledge.  But today the grass was cropped short, freshly mowed this spring, and everything was wet and smelled earthy. Little brown mud spots speckled my bare calves, adding to my freckles. I wore a dark green cotton dress that came down to my knees with three-quarter sleeves, something that looks like a more figure-flattering version of what my Gramma used to wear around the house on days when she didn’t plan on going anywhere. Anyway, it’s comfortable. We got to the ledge and I un-hooked my dog’s leash so she could sniff around while I perched on the warm flat rock in the sunshine. It was a mild afternoon — 66 degrees F — sunny with a breeze. The panoramic view of the lakes region is pretty in a few directions, except for the three cell phone towers up there, so I like to face the side that opens up in a valley between two mountains. Sophie-Bea stayed close by but sniffed around, hopping through the wet meadow as if she didn’t want her feet to get soiled (hardly her M.O. in reality) until she caught the scent of turkeys. Luckily, we didn’t see any, but the highlight of her day was finding some turkey scat, and rolling in it. Ahh, for the love of dogs. 

 We left Hacker’s Hill and drove the long way home, stopping at a little beach on Crescent Lake, where another couple were throwing a stick for a very large black lab named Ben. I got out and asked, “My dog’s friendly, is your dog friendly, too?” They said, “Too friendly!” They were right. Sophie-Bea and Ben chased each other and played. He nosed her rear and got frisky, and she didn’t exactly snip at him. (Both dogs are spayed/neutered. It was all just for show.) The two dogs waded and splashed in the chilly lake. I was glad to see this because my dog is still getting over a fear of swimming with other dogs since that traumatic incident with the other dog summer 2010, when she nearly drowned under the weight of the other dog. Last summer, 2011, she improved but was still not crazy about swimming with other dogs, and certainly not black labs. So I consider this wonderful progress.