Monday, June 18, 2018

Coming out of the Closet

Ray was in the hall closet. An 'oh, shit' feeling came over me.

I had been upstairs sewing when the doghorn had sounded (even though the sound is vastly diminished, it is still not something one can ignore.) Then there had been sounds of muffled crashing, and hangers clanging. I knew that doghorn+crashing+hangers meant only one thing: Lionel had deposited another chipmunk (or mousie) in the house(ie) for his friend to play with. The cat was nowhere to be seen which was a good thing, but Ray's butt and enthusiastically wagging tail sticking out of the closet were a dead giveaway as to the location of the errant rodent.

I corralled the dog in the bathroom, propped open the front door, and started removing things from the closet floor. A chipmunk was wedged between a piece of foam that Lionel liked to sleep on and the wall. He looked vaguely familiar. He's been here before, I thought to myself. I grabbed an umbrella and gave him a gentle poke. Obviously knowing his way out, the chipmunk sauntered to the front door. I followed, closed it behind him, and let Ray out of the lock-up.

He's not in here, Ray. He must have gotten away.
Are you sure, Lionel?
Maybe, he's back here.

I really think he might be back here.

Nope. You were right. He's not there.
Oh, Juno, you should have been there. There was this chipmunk
 in the closet. It was so great.

Friday, June 15, 2018


These days, taking Ray for a walk is all about analysis: How far do I think he can go without laying down for a rest? If he starts out a good clip, is he feeling strong enough to go whatever distance he has decided on in his dog-brain? If the sun comes out, how will that affect his performance? If he finds a really nice lawn, will he pass it or take advantage of its lofty cushiness? There are just so many things to consider and no way to really know the answer until it is too late.

This morning Ray started out strong, at the top of his form, I would have said. He went about three quarters of a mile, then showed good sense by stopping and turning around to go home. Unfortunately he didn't get far before he found one of those lofty-cushy lawns upon which he crashed. To my good fortune, the house in front of which Ray had crashed just happened to have a Little Free Library set up along the sidewalk. While he rested in a cool breeze on his shady lawn, I perused the books. Ironically, there was a book entitled "How to Teach Your Old Dog New Tricks". I unlatched the little door and slid the book out of the little house.

Before I had a chance to even turn a page, Ray was on his feet and ready to go. He knew exactly what I had in my hand and there was no way he was going to let me teach him anything. I put the book back. I could tell from the tag lines on the cover that it wasn't the book for me. There was nothing about how to keep a dog from laying down on a cushy lawn in the shade when a cool breeze was blowing. And I really couldn't imagine what I would do with a Ray-spit-impregnated tissue after I had taught him to extract one from a box.

New tricks? Puh-leeeeze.