Monday, April 21, 2008
More Stories About Dogs and Birds
Last fall I saw several turkeys at the park by the river where I take the dogs every morning. Then, over the winter and spring, they disappeared and I never saw them standing by the road like prehistoric watchtowers or heard them gobbling away across the creek. Huh, I thought, when I thought about it, which frankly wasn't often at all, I wonder if turkeys are migratory? Then last week when the dogs and I got up to the big field, there was something way over in the center of the grass. Something big. I had one of those sinking moments where I wonder if this is going to be the morning when I encounter a lost bear or a rabid coyote or a body or a space alien or something else that's going to thoroughly freak out my morning peace and change my life forever and/or possibly lead to a TV miniseries and wealth and fame. The dogs, who aren't bothered by this kind of introspection, went straight off to investigate at top speed, barking madly. The turkey, (it was a turkey, hey, which you probably figured out by now) alarmed, stretched itself out (it had been kind of hunkered down in the grass doing gods know what - playing tic tac toe in the dirt or something) and took off running as a preamble to a cartoony takeoff and low, awkward flight back across the creek. Turns out it takes turkeys a surprisingly long time to get airborne. It was pretty cool. And the dogs came back eventually, which was also pretty cool.
Over the last year I've gotten to know a couple of other dogs who go to the park occasionally at roughly the same time we do. Notable among these dogs is Bucket, who is a large energetic yellow dog with a head of solid bone. Bucket lives with two humans and two other dogs: Sam, who is a very ancient Lab and whom I adore because I adore all old dogs and a small worried older lady dog whose name I can't remember. I don't know the human's names either. That is okay. Bucket is about the same age or a little younger than Django and has just as much energy, if not, unbelievably, more. When we first met he fell in love with Django and kept trying to join our family by happily trotting off with us, clearly saying "I want to live with Django and love him and jump on him and run around with him forever." Bucket, by the way, when I am speaking out loud for him, has one of those Duh Dum De Dum Dum voices. Theo speaks like a stoner grad student. Django also has a dum de dum dum voice but it's higher and more kindergarteny. Go figure. Anyway, Bucket's desertions always led to some exasperated maneuvering by his humans who would finally have to backtrack and physically catch him. Now, though, Bucket has learned to come when he is called, which is nice. And he and Django still love each other and they play this raucous game with large sticks whereby one of them will grab a three or four foot branch and start running around madly in circles with it while the other one chases him and tries to latch on. Then they either run in tandem, both holding the stick, which is really cute, or the second dog latches on from the wrong side, which, given the laws of physics (I don't know which law of physics but I'm sure there is one) makes them both come to an abrupt halt, which in turn surprises the hell out of them. This is even cuter. The only not cute part is when one of them is going 40 miles per hour with a giant stick and comes dashing right by and, if you are me, naturally, the stick whacks you right across the shins with an audible THWACK. If you are Bucket's mom, though, you can jump neatly over it. Bucket's mom obviously thinks faster at 7:30 than I do.
But Bucket is not Django's best friend. Mojo is Django's best friend and whenever I come home from being at S' house and seeing Mojo, Django is horrified by my betrayal and keeps his nose glued to my jeans leg, hoping against hope that I actually have got Mojo in my pocket, until I give up and put those jeans in the wash. When Mojo comes over they are both utterly happy and wrestle and play for hours and it is all incredibly cute, particularly when Django, who has around 50 pounds on Mojo, nicely lets him win the wrestling match. Yay dogs.
Now that I've been all nice about them, how much do you want to bet that I'll go home and find something new destroyed? It's harder for them to get to my stuff since I got smart and started putting all the couch and chair cushions and everything else portable into the living room closet every morning. Most people, I know, don't have to live like this but damn, it's a lot easier than reupholstering every few days. Their big favorite thing to do now is to drag my bearskin (teddy, not brown or grizzly) rug out through the dog door and into the mud. I have not the faintest idea why or, actually, how they do this, since said rug is actually a 5 foot square of fake fur and said dog door is like 2 feet square, but they do and, well, I guess it keeps them occupied. As Theo would - and does, I swear - say, "Constant vigilance is the price we pay for a squirrel free yard."