In and out. In and out. In and out. A day at home with the dogs means encouraging them to play outside as much as possible to sniff and explore and roam. Rain or shine when it’s not too cold, out they go. Ideally, this means they will actually sleep through the night and Stockton or I won’t have to run bathroom duty in a zombie stupor at 4 AM or 5 AM. Is this what parents do with kids, less naps, more exercise, earlier bedtime, glorious sleep?
I attempt my system of dog management. Yet we don’t live in a vacuum. Service trucks rumble past the house, neighbors walk by, other dogs patrol nearby yards. One distraction and peace in Mayberry breaks down.
One day while I heaved a load of laundry into the dryer, I heard Matilda yip and bark. Oh no. I hold my breath and listen. She barks again. I look out the window and spot her guarding the property line. OK time for me to be the good neighbor and call her inside. Easier said than done. Thoughtlessly, I open the porch door empty-handed and call for her. She glances at me like an insolent teenager over her shoulder and through her long eyebrows. As if.
I exhale through clenched teeth. Must locate dog treats. I snag them off a shelf, confidence renewed. Shake, shake, shake. This time not even a glance. Ugh.
Ok, her squeaker toy. I find that on our mantle-o-dog-stuff and slip on my sneakers. It’s getting serious. I trek back outside. “Matilda!” I say sternly, squeaking the toy as I walk over our lawn. Tail wag. This is promising. I’m getting closer. 30 feet. 20 feet. 10 feet.
My ears perk up. I hear the puggles next door. It’s only a matter of time before they burst outside, barking and making their pretense known at the fence. If Matilda sees them, she will talk back. She will run up and down the fence. She will go alpha. I’m not in the mood.
I shudder as I remember other times I failed at lassoing the beast my little terrier transforms into when she goes nuts. Dodging my visually impaired grabs, she cuts left, right, bark bark bark. Picture me bending down, wagging a bone at her as she wiggles out of reach multiple times. Picture me doing this while the neighbors greet friends or family in the driveway next door. Yeah.
I hold out the slender gray stuffy, willing my terrier to behave. 5 feet. I hear a door open. She cocks her head, her front paw indicating she heard the door, too. Time runs out. I lunge for her red collar, securing her and scooping her into the air as I hear the amplified cacophony of the neighbor’s dogs. She resists, but I hold tight, marching victoriously across the lawn with her under my arm. I win. Act fast, save the peace.
Do you have pets? What crazy things have your pets done recently? Tell me about it.