Benny Jay: Slowin’ Down

July 5th, 2018

Sometime in the middle of these summer thunderstorms and firecrackers, Nicky, the dog, goes psycho.

She develops a phobia for late-night walks. As in — she won’t do them anymore.

It’s not that I don’t try to take her for nighttime walks. Every night, it’s the same old thing….

“C’mon, Nicky,” I say in that cheery sing-song voice we use for little kids and dogs.

Like — this is gonna be so much fun!

But instead of walking down the front steps with me, she digs in her heals. Gives me the look that says: “No fucking way.”

If I drop the leash, she whirls and heads back to the door — tail between her legs, as if to say: “Hurry up and let me back in!”

It baffles me — there’s no obvious explanation. This is a dog who used to love late-night walks. In fact, she’s been my companion for thousands of them over the last nine years.


Nicky, the dog, let us know — I ain’t walkin’ anymore!


I’ve heard all sorts of explanations for her behavior.

It’s the thunder storms….

It’s the firecrackers….

Her eyes are going bad and she can’t see in the dark….

(The vet offered up that one.)

I’ve received many suggestions. Like this one from my father….

“Take her to the doggie analyst and have her lie on the couch and tell the doctor about her dreams.”

As you can see, my father’s always been a big fan of Freud.

The vet suggested we give her a treat as a reward for leaving the front steps. And not just any old doggie biscuit, but something special — like a piece of hot dog or chicken.

Hell, there’s not much I wouldn’t do for a good piece of fried chicken.


Paging Dr. Freud!



My wife gives the dog the treat and the dog still resists.

“You don’t understand,” my wife tells Nicky. “I’m not giving you this piece of hot dog for the sake of giving it to you. You have to earn it. It’s a reward for going for the walk.”

“Oh, I understand perfectly,” Nicky tells my wife. “I’ll eat that hot dog, but I ain’t walking!”

Well, the dog doesn’t actually say that. But she lets us know.

Just to be clear. Nicky’s an eager beaver when it comes to daytime walks. Tail wagging. Gonna run, run right down the street.

Then at night — no way, Jack!

Most nights I drag her down the block to the corner. Once we turn the corner, she stops resisting. My wife’s theory is that once we turn the corner, the dog realizes going back is not an immediate option, so she might as well accept her fate.

“Let’s face it — you dog’s getting old.”

A neighbor tells me that.

Makes as much sense as anything else. With dogs as humans, getting old is a bitch.

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