ball of fur owners.

The ball of fur charges boldly down the sidewalk. 
One of the things about having a ball of fur in an apartment is that you must take that ball of fur on walks, for both exercise and peeing purposes.

This is, for the most part, a good thing. You and the ball of fur bond on walks. You get to know their habits and personalities better. You get exercise and fresh air and time away from it all. I also tend to listen to podcasts on our daily post-work long walk so it's a good time to learn a little something too.

Some times it's a bad thing, like when there's a snow or rain storm or when you have what you thought was a cold but was actually the flu. Not that either of those has happened.

Walking a ball of fur is also a good way to meet the neighbors.

Well, the neighbors that have their own balls of fur or are fans of balls of fur.

And if I've learned nothing else, I've learned that ball of fur owners can be divided into several categories. I'd like to discuss those categories now, in no particular order.

1. The friendly ones: you stop and talk to these ball of fur owners, swapping stories about your respective balls of fur while those aforementioned balls of fur swirl around you sniffing butts and posturing and playing. You may never learn their name but you'll know their ball of fur's name and probably a lot more about their bodily functions & behavior than you would have cared to before you got your own ball of fur. Somehow it's not weird though.

ones: these ball of fur owners will not let their ball of fur within 10 feet of yours. Is their ball of fur aggressive? Are they aggressive? You'll never know because they'll probably never say a word to you. They'll just yank their ball of fur away, change course, or stop walking until you've moved on.

3. The apologists: their balls of fur are either aggressive or overly excitable and will flip out when you get near them with your own ball of fur. They'll pull their ball of fur away, apologizing profusely the whole time. In between "I'm sorries" they'll probably throw in a run-on sentence about exactly why your balls of fur must never meet. It'll go like this "i'm-so-sorry-he's-just-so-aggressive-and-we-don't-know-why-we've-tried-everything-but-he's-just not friendly-oh-God-i'm-just-so-sorry-about-him".

4. The judgers: they believe their ball of fur can do no wrong and is superior in every way to yours. You don't have to even speak to them. They will look down their nose and probably wrinkle it when you pass. If you do talk to them, they'll humble brag about how superior their dog is and offer "helpful" suggestions on ball of fur behavior even if your ball of fur is behaving itself perfectly.

5. The hands off ones: their balls of fur are never on leashes yet they somehow never wander off. Both ball of fur and owner have achieved an impressive level of zen and walk calmly along. Their ball of fur may look at yours but it will somehow resist all temptation and stay by its owner's side. These balls of fur always seem extremely content.

6. The really shouldn't be hands off ones: let me explain this one via example. Our neighbors have a giant fluffy ball of fur. It's name is Barry. Barry is frequently off leash. They run after him screaming BARRY at full volume. Barry doesn't respond. Barry should be on a leash. Oh and these ball of fur owners tend to be surprised when their ball of fur causes trouble, usually by charging up to another ball of fur and scaring its wits out, even though this happens roughly every other time they let the ball of fur out.

7. The exasperated ones: they're frazzled. It could be the ball of fur, the kids, or work. Who knows. But either way, they're a hot mess. They may snap at you or they may just seem seconds from emotional collapse. Somehow they're constantly in this state. How is their life always this stressful? How have they not found some outlet? It's a mystery. They're a mystery. Much like the apologists, they'll probably apologize extensively.

8. The bemused ones: Their ball of fur is constantly doing something. Maybe it's digging. Maybe it's rolling in mud. Maybe it jumped headfirst for no discernible reason. That or their ball of fur is terrified of everything. Seriously. Everything spooks it and devolves into a quaking mass. They're used to it by now though and will do their best to control it, usually after sighing deeply and rolling their eyes. Oh and probably also saying "This dog, I swear". But it's usually accompanied by this secret little smile that says that they don't know how they'd live without their ball of fur.

Balls of fur. They're good for companionship, exercise, and teaching you about other ball of fur owners.

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