William once had a splendid pair of reindeer antlers--luxurious red plush (no dollar store gear), originally purchased for a Christmas card photo. One Winter Walk--around 2004 or 2005--I got it into my head to have William wear the antlers as we strolled together on Warren Street. Such a tolerant dog, he gamely wore the antlers, put up with the shrieks of excited children when they noticed a dog got up like a reindeer, and posed for pictures. When the antlers fell off at the top of Warren Street, he patiently allowed me to put them back on him.
After we had walked from Third Street to Seventh Street and back again, we went to see the reindeer, who were located just below Third that year. William, his antlers still on his head, stared at the beasts with what seemed like wonderment. He appeared to make eye contact with one of them. Then he lowered his head, raised a paw, and very deliberately pushed the antlers off his head.
Could it be that, presented with the real thing, William was embarrassed by his silly headgear? Did he sense that the real reindeer thought he looked ridiculous? Those explanations attribute human emotions and sensibilities to animals. More likely, the end of William's tolerance coincided with our arrival at the reindeer pen, but who knows?
Whatever transpired, when I tried to put the antlers back on, William was having none of it. He made it clear that he had had enough--enough of the antlers and enough of Winter Walk. So the two of us headed toward Allen Street and home.
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