He sniffs my mouth, and I pat his head. He pants, and I place the choke chain around his neck and grab the end of the leash.
We stride out into the crisp air and cool mist, and our footsteps break the hush of early morning.
On our usual path, we slow down when he needs to and resume our pace and rhythm. There is no passerby. Everyone is inside.
We strut along until he stops short. He sniffs the air, then ground. His nose is busy, his ears taut, eyes focused. He marches further, pulling me.
I try to keep him from going into the woods. He keeps weaving and sticks his head in the bush as we proceed.
Something was or is here.
A wild pig? A feral cat? A mongoose?
I hear nothing except our breathing and shuffling.
I feel relieved to see the end of the trail and hurry.
Once we exit, he stops and looks back.
I also look back and see a thicket of woods fade in the fog.
I jerk the leash, oblivious to those eyes watching us.