There are whole days when I feel as if I’m engaged in an inter-species competition. That’s not to say that I don’t absolutely adore my two canine companions. They are my world. I have moments when my heart is so full just from watching them. They don’t even need to be doing anything. Just standing there watching me is enough to cause my chest to tighten with love. Sometimes I want to FaceTime my daughter and show her the cuteness of Mona or Bowie doing. . . well, nothing, mostly. But just look how “hopeful” Bowie is! (Bowie, meanwhile, is “hopeful” that I’ll sling his rope toy the length of the house so he can have throw rugs and chairs skitter out of his path as he sprints across the kitchen and into the living room, usually coming to an abrupt stop only by slamming into the couch. It is pointless to remind him each time of the predictable outcome of open-throttle indoor racing. The thrill of the chase exacts what to him seems an acceptable degree of indemnification.)
Recently (after three successful escapes — two by Bowie and one by Mona), I’ve altered our twilight and late night “potty runs”. No longer do we exit via the front door, which necessitates skillful navigation of stairs. Instead, we all traipse downstairs and exit through the basement, eliminating the risk that I will face-plant into the bushes or at the base of the front steps. And, obviously, I stand a better chance of remaining tethered to my end of the leash. It’s early, but the results are promising, even if Bowie still is inclined to charge out the door full speed. (I can hear the trainer’s voice reminding me, Be always in command. “With me, Bowie”. “Leave it, Bowie.”)
While the outcome of the daily smackdown is never a foregone conclusion, the win goes in my column tonight. As I’ve taken to doing, because I don’t like surprises (unless it’s one that involves Chocolate Town Special Cake made by Megan on my birthday), I push the curtain aside on the basement door and scan the backyard. No deer or rabbits within view. I open the door, Bowie charges and Mona prances. We make our way around the garden, heading further into the backyard, but I decide to glance behind us, toward the street. I catch movement on the other side of the line of pine trees. Yup, deer. And where there’s one, there are likely three more. As they do every night, they’re making their leisurely way along the ancient and invisible pathway.
I’ve seen them, but Mona and Bowie haven’t yet. I alter our own route so that I can be reasonably sure they won’t see the four deer when they emerge on their northward progression. Oh, but those canine noses don’t lie. The two little heads spring up at the same time, and two little noses lift. They’ve scented the deer, but can’t fix their location. Till they figure that out, Mona and Bowie stand still, but with noses twitching. I know I only have a couple minutes before the deer will be seen from our location. Before my charges have succeeded in triangulating the location of the deer, I tug on their leashes and coax them, promising a treat (because I’ve made a total mess of our boot camp gains, and achieve compliance using the path of least resistance.)
We take it one day at a time. Some days I win, some days they’re the ones giving each other high-fives. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s contest will be like.
But, just look at how stinkin’ cute they are!