Suzhou is in the midst of a nice mild break in the weather, so my days at home with the animals have been quite pleasant and layers worn haven't been quite as thick. We're due to dip back down, though, so don't get too harumph-y about my bragging.
I don't think I ever mentioned it, but poor Miles escaped my parents' house while he was staying with them, tore greyhound-speed circles around on wet, muddy grass, and tore a ligament in his back right knee, followed, of course, by surgery. In October. And he's still kind of gimpy (no shock, it's a long healing time). So, a lot of the reason I'm so very glad to have this extensive time home (especially with nice weather) is so I can take him on multiple slow walks each day, in hopes that the muscle mass lost in resting and healing can be slowly rebuilt and get his little ligament stretched out so it doesn't hurt as much. I'm not totally sure it's working yet, there's lots of evenings where he's hobbling around on only three legs, but we're trying. And since it's the week of celebration for Chinese New Year, almost everyone who is from elsewhere in the country has departed and gone to spend time with family, so it's much more devoid of crazy Chinese neighbors who panic everytime they round the corner on the weaving walking paths to see me and my big bad beagle sniffing the ground and minding his own business. Seriously, one 14 year old girl screamed, "DOG!" and ran away from us. Miles was literally 3 feet off the sidewalk, sniffing a discarded skewer from someone's cart food snack.
But, on the flip side, a 5 year old boy was playing some sort of chase or hide and seek game with his dad one evening and was really enamored with this weird looking critter (most "China Dogs" as my sister called them look like this or this. Perfectly cute, but nothing I'd want to love on). Miles could tell this kid was into him and sat down like a gentleman and I told the kid he could come over. He touched the silky ears, patted his head, and squatted down to look Miles in the eye. He then popped up, yelled he wanted to tell his dad, and came running back to show off his new buddy.
Melt me right into a puddle.