One of the advantages of a dog is that you rediscover your neighbourhood while taking him out of a walk. When my children were small we used to spend a lot of time walking up and down the hilly streets where we live, and finding all sorts of interesting stuff on the way.
Things haven't changed all that much in the intervening twenty-five years; most of the house that were there when the kids were young are still there, most of the cracks in walls, most of the stony driveways that have never been paved over, some of the houses that have never been painted, and much more. Only the people have come and gone.
And that's another interesting thing: I met a man last Saturday whom I hadn't seen for several years. Turns out he's been living down the road for at least five of those years, has married and is just about to have his second child. This evening, while out walking before the evening meal, we met two children (they were cousins, they told me) who asked if my dog was friendly. Someone on Facebook called him a furball the other day, and that's pretty much what he is - badly in need of having his first haircut, in fact. So the last thing he looks is unfriendly. But I assured the kids he was perfectly friendly, and they patted him and chatted in a way that you hardly come across in the neighbourhood these days.
And further up the road I came across a man wearing a t-shirt with 'Speaking in tongues,' 'Holy Spirit' and the like on the back. You'd think someone willing to wear that would be a pretty ardent Christian, but he told me he hadn't been to church for quite a few years. The t-shirt (and several others in different colours that he still owned) were made when he was attending a Revival church in Australia.
Dogs are great conversation starters - it wasn't until my dog stopped outside this man's house (he was unloading his van) that I noticed the t-shirt.
These sort of things have never happened with any of the cats we've owned....!