My morning begins with the usual routine. After a night of wrestling animals who decide that the overnight temperatures of 65 without a wood fire are frigid and require sleeping on top of me or at my side, I let the duo outside. When I go to the back door to let Mandy inside, she's curiously absent. Pooch, the cat is in the back yard. I assume he's monitoring the dog's antics. No so. No Mandy.
Searching the east, south and west property lines I find the mutt hot on the trail of venison. My neighbor hung a freshly killed deer in his shed next to the horse corral. Yesterday Mandy went into the shed with hackles raised because of the strange animal hanging from a rafter. Today, she's searching for tasty scraps. In sweats and slippers I walk through frozen grass to retrieve the dog. I know once I get close. she'll sense my presence and come out of the shed.
"Get over here. You're not supposed to be in there," I tell her. Ears flatten. "Get home." She sides away from me knowing I'm pissed to have to walk the equivalent of a city block to my neighbors half dressed. Thankfully, it's not 12 below zero. She skulks home.
The Pooch is regular as summer sunshine. He appears for breakfast, eats one half of the serving of raw chicken liver and raw ground pork. I let him out again. Mandy prefers cooked food. I mix sauteed ground pork with her dry dog food. She ignores the meal, preferring to stretch out on the couch. You see, she probably didn't get much sleep with the guy next to her tossing, turning, snoring and pushing her over to make room.
A bit later, I'm thrilled to find the cat in front of the kitchen window with that, "Aren't you going to let me in look" on his puss. Thrilled that he follows my arm motions to the deck door. Like a traffic cop at an intersection I exaggerate the arm movement with a series of crooks of my right arm motioning to the right. Patricia McConnell in her blog, The Other End of the Leash verifies that dogs follow arm motion commands. Chimps and wolves do not. I knew we'd aptly named our cat The Pooch. He's a reincarnated dog from a past life.
While I pay a steady stream of bills and call Dawn to find out what the curious mark in our checkbook indicates, I hear the patter of hoof beats upstairs. Dog and cat are playing tag. Much of the time the dog is too large and too rough for any extended play, but I notice frequently that the Pooch loves to challenge Mandy. His teasing comes in several forms.
In the house he'll utter a cat errp and race off. "Come catch me" is the ruse. Outside, if he has enough distance to escape, he'll race off toward the cover of the deck or a bush egging Mandy into a game of chase. Mandy is one smart dog, but dumber than dirt compared to our cat. She falls for the same tricks, time after time.
I don't remember if I mentioned it, but the other day Mandy learned how to climb a step ladder leaning against the open deck of Johann's cabin. She had me wound around her paw for months getting me out of bed with a whine and complaint in the middle of the night. I'd get my robe on and let her outside. Finally, disgusted with the routine I ignored the grunts. She quit after she found I wouldn't arise. Her thick headed master didn't understand the vocalizations as a form of "I miss you Dad. Can I climb in bed."
This morning I find a way to get back at her for all the interrupted sleep. Sipping the last of my coffee I sing a Christmas carol. Not the words, mind you, just nonsense vocalizations to the tune of Deck The Halls. When I reach the high pitched part of the song, she's nearly crazy with the cacophony assuming I'm hurt or in pain. Tail wagging, paws on my knee with a stop, stop, puleeze look on her face, I blow on her nose. That's it. That's all she can take. Probably the coffee fumes were the last straw. She paws at me and I get up to get away from the crazed dog to throw the dishes in the sink.
Lessons from Alabama
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