It feels like everyone went back to work and school and their normal lives today. Which meant that Zoe, Toby and I had the walk mostly to ourselves. We passed that one guy my age I see every day and did run into the mom from the other day with the stroller and the family but the family was down to a baby in the stroller and a screaming 3 year old (I'm guessing the daughter who drove the electric car is in preschool and father is off earning money for the screaming kid). We just stopped and let the woman go far enough ahead we'd not see (or hear) them again. And we ran into one other woman walking in the opposite direction so there was a 2 second interaction.
Both dogs most of the way off leash which is why I go on that path. I know what to expect. Zoe has done the walk nearly every day for two and a half years so she knows more than I do about it and is a perfect lady. If she sees someone ahead of us she will stop and look back at me as if on point. I know two things from this. One, she has seen someone. Two they don't have a dog. If they have a dog she will stop and turn around back to me. The rule is if there are people she ignores them and walks by as if they weren't there. If there is a dog she goes on leash until we pass. There is one exception that she knows about. There is one guy who does the same as me, walks his dog off leash but when there are other dogs. Both of us know each other and neither put the dogs back on the leash. They just pass each other, sniff "Hi", and move on.
Zoe walks by the traffic next to the road always staying on the path even when a squirrel runs away across the street. I see her thought process, the most difficult thing for her, see the squirrel, start to chase, see that it will take her where she is not supposed to go, and stop. And bark once, then move on. She knows exactly what she is allowed to do and what not. If she breaks the rules I put her back on the leash for a while, a penalty for us both.
Toby is learning. He's only had a few months and even though he has Zoe as a role model, he's still learning how to mind his own business and just walk by. But I've had Zoe for 11 years now and she is completely attuned to me. Toby will get there. For the moment she's allowed off leash only when no one is around and we are not near the road.
Today was a really lovely day with little interference in our world. May there be a lot more.