A Pup Named Roofer
By James Rowan and Dog(s)

Started on: 04/27/10 12:21:05
Medium: Other

My neighbor Ziggy has had a young puppy in our apartment complex for the past couple months. The dog, Roofer, is amazing. He's half lab and half pitbull and looks like a miniature black panther, except for the tiny spots of white he has on the underside of each of his paws as well as on his chest. Everyone loves this dog, as we are all pet-starved in the student housing that we live in, and there is nothing like an animal to bring absolute ridiculous unrequited joy to everyone. Ziggy isn't supposed to have the dog, as all pets are pretty much banned from the complex, but rules were meant to be bent especially when it comes to amazing animals. Roofer was rescued from the pound, and its heartbreaking to think of how many animals such as himself end up with no homes or anyone to care for them. Since we were lucky enough for Roofer to choose Ziggy as his human, we have to do all that we can for this little pup.

Ziggy takes Roofer on walks loads of times every day. They go on runs together, play in the park, and generally just have fun. I've accompanied Ziggy numerous times before and have absolutely bonded with this non-human animal, and he too me. Since he is always on a leash and always controlled, I figured I would let Roofer take me on a walk rather than the other way around. He got to dictate where we went and what we saw, what patches of grass we ran on and whether or not we went to the beach. Before we went, I sat down with Roofer on the lawn outside my apartment. I slowly did the meditation practices that Barbara Janelle had taught us, and asked Roofer if he would like to take charge of the walk and decide where we went. I tried to communicate to him that it was up to him, and that he would be able to go anywhere, even the places that Ziggy had conditioned him to not go. When I felt that he understood what I was asking, we started off.

When we first left the complex. it felt like business as usual. We took off out the back and up a flight of concrete stairs, heading up an alley which opens onto Picasso Ln. However, as soon as we passed a row of cars we came to a field which Ziggy and Roofer normally ignore on our walks. Roofer instantly diverted paths, walking through the field and exploring the different scents and sensations. I thought that he just wanted to hang there, but he took off again, through the field on a path that we had never taken before, towards a part of Isla Vista that we had never taken him. We walked up El Greco, and Roofer seemed excited about the fact that he was in charge of this journey. From there he decided we should go to campus, as he had never gotten a chance to visit it either. It was as if he could sense where Ziggy spent most of his time, because he actually took us to the side of campus where Ziggy has most of his classes.

After that, he seemed pretty satisfied with what he had seen, and he turned us around and headed back home. This won't be the last journey we take together, but it was an amazing experience in new places.
[Write Comment]

Comment by LisaJ (05/02/10 09:06:07):
Read up on walking art practices. A good place to start is Laura Hyatt's project, Ode to Richard Long, from a couple of years ago:

and Animal Geospatial Navigation/ Doggie Derive by Cara Moore:

She used a gps device and mapped her walks. Unfortunately she did not upload the maps.

Contextualize your walk and take pictures, audio etc. And you might want to create a map as well.