Oli’s Earth Day

In case you didn’t hear, yesterday was Earth Day. That’s right, the 42nd anniversary of the inaugural Earth Day held in New York City way back in 1970.

The aim remains the same: protect the environment and the world’s natural resources through conservation efforts. This year’s motto is Mobilize the Earth™.

In honor of Earth Day 2012, Oli and I went for a three-mile hike in nearby wooded parkland. The temperature may have been a little on the chilly side, but walking amid the bright sunshine, forested shadows and lush greenery made a perfect day for walking and reflecting.

For me, that is. As far as I can tell, Oli doesn’t reflect on much of anything. I think he just sniffs and observes, observes and sniffs. He’s a keen one, always on alert for possible dangers to our persons.

This is a dog whose breed instills in him the necessity of remaining ever vigilant, a lonely sentinel destined to guarding his masters from all foes, perceived or otherwise.

It’s not unusual for people to watch Oli as he goes by. He’s a cairn terrier (think Dorothy’s dog Toto in the classic movie Wizard of Oz); when his hair is grown out he looks like a small dark werewolf.

Children are drawn to him because he is so small, and parents especially like to point him out to their toddlers and pre-schoolers.

There’s something about his purposeful strut that lets them know they needn’t fear he’s going to stop, and his diminuative size makes him less risky (at least in the parents’ minds) than many of the larger, more muscled breeds wandering around.

‘Kijk naar dat kleine, zwarte hond,’ I’d often hear. ‘Wat een hondje!’

(Look at that small, black dog. What a little dog!)

But as we meandered through the woodland paths and past the hidden skate park and playground yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice that more heads were turning than usual, and remaining fixated on Oli longer than would ordinarily be the case.

I’d forgotten that recently he’d had his hair shaved in anticipation of the coming warmer days of spring and summer. It certainly does the trick in helping to keep him cool. But when his large bat-like ears are down, it also renders him a close relative of the meer cat family.

Not always his best look, I’ll agree. And one that certainly draws attention.

As I watched Oli confidently lead the way, I suddenly realized the other reason for the lingering stares. Daughter had dressed the poor guy in a doggie t-shirt.


small black dog wearing a little t-shirt on Adventures in Expat Land

What are you looking at?

Back at home, I later went online to the Earth Day website where they were seeking pledges of action to improve the Earth with the A Billion Acts of Green® campaign.

Specific events taking place during this year’s celebration can be found at the Earth Day organization’s 2012 website here.

The site offers information on all sorts of ‘green’ topics ranging from energy efficiency and renewal, conservation, biodiversity, recycling and waste reduction, more efficient modes of transportation, sustainable development and advocacy. They also outline several ways to take action and contribute time, energy and effort to the cause.

I joined in pledging my act (well, actually it was two acts) to help make my own little corner of the natural world just a little better.

If you’re interested, you can see my pledge here and then make your own pledge while you’re at the site.



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