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Paws front, let's do the Loco-motion

The other day our daughter noted how our dog walks like a runway model. I believe she was referring to how he puts one paw directly in front of the other when he walks. But, to me, of all the words I could use to describe our dog, model-like would not be one of them.

Goofy would top my list.

Many years ago while visiting a home where a prize-winning show dog resided, I noticed how this dog glided into a room. He didn't come tearing in with a big shoe or floppy toy in his mouth like our dog does.

He didn't nose-dive into the carpet and start rubbing and snorting and flopping his body this way and that -- especially after he ate his supper and was very, very happy. Burp.

This dog glided. Our dog bops. Outside on a leash our dog walks with his nose to the ground -- sniff, sniff, sniff -- occasionally raising his head and coming to an abrupt stop. Alas, a leaf is floating to the ground. Shocking.

Dogs do have their own styles of walking, don't they? This week while driving to work I saw a golden retriever being walked down a street. He was carrying a stick in his mouth. This dog had a proud and peppy walk. He could have been leading a parade.

I also often drive by someone walking a very large dog and a very small dog at the same time. The small dog takes about 20 steps to the big dog's one. No, I haven't counted, but you get the picture.

It's not just dogs. Both of our cats have peculiar ways of getting around the house, depending on the circumstances. Sometimes they take a curvy route. Sometimes they keep circling back as if they might miss something (treats?). Sometimes they walk along the back ledge of the sofa and then leap to their destination, as if they have no use for the floor.

Other times, they walk very slowly and in a straight line. This is when they have spotted something on the carpet across the room. Perhaps it's something they can pounce on. Perhaps it's alive! Perhaps it's just a small piece of paper someone dropped. But it still must be stopped!

All this reminds me of a game my husband used to play with our daughter, her young visitors and the occasional adult. It was his version of John Cleese's Silly Walks.

He would start at one end of the living room and start making all sorts of nutty strides across the entire room, legs going in all directions, arms waving in the air. The participants behind him would watch very carefully and then, one by one, attempt to copy his moves. Observers would decide who had the silliest walk of them all.

Even someone on the shy side quickly warmed up to this game. Because, really now, how can one resist mimicking a man who is walking like one of those crazy little wind-up toys shortly before it drops off the edge of the counter top?

You should see him on the dance floor.