Friday, January 7, 2011

Bad Cat and Nutmeg

Shoulda named the dog Margaret. Shortened to Meg, like one of my favorite movie stars, I'm sure we would have added nut to the title.

Winter is a hindrance to my animal population. Walks across the frozen tundra are few. Mandy gets excited and streaks out to the cornfield when I ask, "Wanna to go for a walk?" There's a crust of ice from the recent New Year's Eve thaw which allows her to walk on top of the snow. I break through every few steps, making my walk look like Joe Cocker on stage singing Bird On a Wire.

In the middle of the field she stops and paws at the ground. I imagine a dead animal carcass to sniff and examine. The other day I decide to check it out. Whenever Mandy's allowed outside on her own, I find her in the cornfield and have to call her back. I follow the neighbor's tractor tracks which are icy and hard, slipping every other step. I abandon the groove finding that spaz walking is preferable to falling in the snow.

When I reach Mandy at her "spot" all I find is a mass of cornstalks. It looks like a hastily made burrow for some large rodent. Disgusted it's not something more exotic, I walk in a straight line toward the edge of the cornfield. The plowed furrows make small hills which hinder each step. No wonder winter walking is a chore.

Each time I take the state highway home, I gaze fondly at the spring fed pond below my neighbor's woods and pasture. The old railroad grade is clear between two swampy lowlands. In autumn the sight of geese skimming the pond is magical. Beaver mounds dot the surface. In reality a walk to the railroad berm is chancing ticks, mosquitoes and the neighbor's stallion who is protective of his herd.

The photo is one of Mandy's snooze places. Just below the couch, bad cat will lie on his back and pull himself the length of the couch sliding on the hardwood floor. Then, he'll race off with an erp vocalization , which means"catch me".

Mandy falls for the routine every time. A wrestling match will ensue. The cat will get the dog in a shoulder lock, but being half the size of the dog, he gets shrugged off. Thinking it's a neat game, the dog will turn in a circle, lie on her side waiting for Bad Cat to lick her face. Bad cat pounces upon Mandy's rear, biting her in the ass. That gets her attention, quickly.

In the end, I break up the tussle when I hear a loud meow. It means the cat got nipped in the ears or worse. The dog stops and looks at me with a, Gosh I was only playing, stare.

After reading Jon Katz's, Rose In A Storm, I'm more knowledgeable about the ways of a border collie, part of Mandy's back ground breeding. The book is a fictional story. The dedication shows the real Rose. Katz writes entertaining books about his adventures on Bedlam Farm. They're a
welcome respite to all the detective stories my library angel is fond of ordering.

Like Rose, Mandy perfects "The Stare". Most often it's a signal she needs to go out. When number one son worked with research monkeys at UW, he learned to never look a monkey in the eyes. It is an aggressive gesture. I need to learn more about border collies and their intense concentration.

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