Home park advantage

How happy was Ace to see Riverside Park again?

Let’s put it this way: He woke me up early today, much earlier than I intended, and all but pushed me down the stairs of the home in which we are temporarily freeloading. Thinking he was in urgent need, I — before getting coffee, which is unheard of  — stumbled across the street to the park with him, where he sniffed around for 20 minutes. We weren’t back in the house five minutes when he was back at the door, nosing the knob, lifting both front paws off the ground at the same time, telling me it was time to go to the park again.

Back from that jaunt, he went back upstairs and into my bed, but 15 minutes later, he was at the top of the stairs, looking down at me and staring longingly at the door again. There are friends, canine and human, that he hasn’t reconnected with yet, and he seems to be eager to find them, especially those who have given him treats over the years. Somehow, he manages to keep meticulous records of those people in his brain. I imagine its something like Facebook, but more smell-based.

Seven months ago, Ace and I left Baltimore on a journey that took us around the country twice, covered 22,000 miles and ended up lasting seven months.

And while I think we both enjoyed our time on the road a lot, it’s good — if I may speak for us both — to see some familiar faces, smell some familiar butts and remark what once was and may be again our territory.

Our first day back in Baltimore — yesterday — Ace was eager to revisit Riverside, see and sniff old friends and remind one and all that (the way he sees it, I think) he’s the sheriff of this particular park and answers to no one, unless they have treats.

He stalked about proudly, as if to tell all other dogs, “This is my domain, and, in case you’ve forgotten, I’m the master of it.”

We hit the park twice yesterday, and he’s already dragged me there twice today.

Last night he came along for my first book signing for DOG, INC. — at the bar he spent a lot of time in during his formative years, the Idle Hour. (Thanks to all the friends who showed up, all the folks who bought books and to the Idle Hour management, to which I apologize for walking out without paying. Put it on my tab, please.)

There will be another book signing tonight — sans Ace — at Captain Larry’s, 601 E. Fort Avenue, from 7 to 10 p.m.

By then, Ace will have been dropped off at his godmother’s house because I have to go to New York tomorrow for another radio interview, this one with Leonard Lopate.

Then — just when we’re both ready, after all our travels, to sit still for a bit — we’ll be driving back down to North Carolina Saturday for my mother’s birthday and another radio interview.

So, in a way, our travels aren’t over; and I guess they won’t really be until we figure out where we’re going to live. Between that and any book related traveling we’ll be doing, this means you might have to bear with us a while longer before “Travels With Ace” officially concludes.

And that won’t happen until we figure out where home is.

Meanwhile, anyone need a housesitter?

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