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Walking Lapka, my sister's Scottish terrier

(Berlin, 1985) Maybe offering to walk her was a mistake. Her little white body strains eagerly ahead, pulling the leash into a thin taut muscle, as if to show me the way. I give in, walk faster.

By the lake, fit smoothly into surrounding hills like the shiny bottom of a bowl, I set us both free, and she shoots down the path, a furry snowball.

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She has no regard for a group of dignified Sunday strollers, who smile indulgently while she untangles herself from the maze of their legs.

She zips up into the woods, stands on top of the hill like a lookout, and calls for my attention with a sharp bark. Then chases down again, making dry underbrush crackle like fire.

I feel vicarious joy in her exuberance, share in her delight with freedom. When she stops ahead of me and turns to lure me on, I disregard my unhappy toes and follow her to all the sights.