Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why does the Old Dog Bark?

Yesterday I was holding a class of sorts.  Emilio came by and wanted me to show him how to roast coffee and in the middle of all of that he had a call he had to take.

We were out back on the Tiki Bar by the pool so to give him a little privacy I wandered off toward the pool.  It's January, I'm in Florida, I'm also in Cargo Shorts and a Polo Shirt.  I was curious how warm the water was and whether it was too cold to paddle around in. 

Bending over I picked up the thermometer from the pool and squinted through the faded and fogged up plastic when I heard it.  BarkBarkBark Bark!  With the scrabble of dog paws, my own little girl was charging toward her long time enemy.

Yes the pool thermometer.

You see she'll leave it alone for the most part when she's outside watering the lawn.  Open the back door and she'll come charging out or ambling out - it all depends on whether she thinks something is out there to herd.  This particular day she went through all that drama and was back under the roof by the little tiki bar snuffling around the foundation of the house looking for whatever it was that left it's scent oh so many months back.

It was an Opossum that got trapped there and paid the ultimate price.   She smells it and checks the spot  months after we had cleaned it up to our own standards and sent the carcass off to the trash to steam plant. 

Dogs live in a different space than we do.  I think that's why we keep them nearby.

In this case she's decided that it was time to attack that pool thermometer with the little plastic duck that helps to keep it from sinking to the bottom. 

Why it was a shock was she's been acting her age.   She's over 11 years old now, and slowing down.  There have been two episodes of seizures each of which she has come back from in flying colors.   Her hearing is selective.  I tell people that she's deaf.  It's just easier.   In fact if I want her attention, I call to her and realize that she's not ignoring me, she's just deaf.   Hard of hearing really, but deaf is easier to say.   So very gently flick one or two hairs on her haunches and she realizes her attention is needed.

Approaching the duck she was barking like mad.   Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the Noon Day Sun to bark at pool thermometers.   She wrestled with it, now that I was bobbing it up and down with a flick of a wrist and I had a visit with a younger version of my longtime friend.   The energy was there, the intensity was literally radiating off her with a sheen.

I realized Emilio had been on the phone so I moved to the back of the pool to drop the duck back in and she followed wanting to kill it back into it's component parts of glass and glycerine, and send the plastic back to it's origin in the dinosaurs that died back in the big meteorite some 65 million years before.

Sometimes you just let it happen.  Emilio was off the phone at this point and laughing at the spectacle so I let her have her fun for a bit more.  Enjoy a visit with one of the good moments, let her have her place in the sun and bark at a plastic toy like a fool.

It was a good day to be an old dog.

1 comment:

  1. You've gotta read "A Dog's Purpose." It explains why they do these things. Careful, though. It's one of those books that stays with you.