Saturday, March 17, 2007
Enough With Everything Already!
And people wonder why I call him "Shameless"...
Enough With the Friggin' Skunks Already!
Seems funny to be talking about it now, but last Sunday we had yet another visitation from those strange black-and-white kitties. That morning, it was brightly sunny when I let the dogs outside... and what should I see wandering drunkenly around the backyard but another good-sized specimen of Stenchius Polecattius?!
Charlie and Seamus spotted it immediately and commenced to stampeding the fence, doing their best sheepdogs-of-the-Baskervilles impressions. Seamus tried to climb over the fence. Dinah bounded behind first one boy and then the other, barking excitedly because they were excited. Meanwhile, the skunk staggered around in circles, stopping to gaze in befogged amazement at the three lively noisemakers gyrating before him.
Skunks are nocturnal; you're not supposed to see them in daylight. If you do, they're rabid, they're roadkill, or they're waking up from a long winter's nap and are deeply disoriented (just like me before my morning caffeine). I called the animal control officer, who happened to be up and reading his Sunday paper. He assured me that the skunk was probably experiencing Case #3 -- sleepy rather than rabid -- and that it should be back in hiding within a couple of hours. If not, he advised, I should call him back, and he'd come out to shoot it. Mind you, I'm all for live-and-let-live, but not where rabies or the safety of my little canine/feline family is concerned.
Charlie has an iron-clad recall; he returned the second I called him, with Dinah still bouncing at his heels. (Dinah's recall isn't quite as solid -- she still subscribes to the independent school of thought that requires a good reason for anything. She doesn't want to miss out on any reward that Charlie might get, though.) Seamus, the dog I'm actually working with in obedience, possesses the power to humiliate me at any time. He has a fine "laboratory recall," but the perverse little bugger enjoys screwing with me at the worst possible times in real-life situations. I worry that someday he would happily run in front of an oncoming Hummer just because he enjoys defying me.
True to his usual methods, Seamus refused to come when I called him, forcing me to chase him around the dog yard until I cornered him and hauled him bodily up the stairs away from the skunk. This is not a method I ordinarily employ for training recalls, but there was no time for subtlety. I cursed; he barked. It's a miracle my neighbors' windows didn't crack from the long strings of cuss words that escaped me in the process.
Once back inside, Seamus's recall became rapid enough when it came time for him to take a nice ride in the car to rally class. You're think he was trained, forgoodnessake! We departed, glancing back at the yard as we pulled away to see whether the skunk had left.
By the time we returned from class, the little stinker (the skunk -- not Seamus, the other stinker) had apparently regained its senses and scuttled away. Good friggin' riddance, I say. Don't come back.
Enough With the Weather Already, Too!
A few days ago, Dinah performed her ritual dance to celebrate mud season...
Mother Nature is toying with us these days as well. Approximately 48 hours ago, the thermometer read nearly 70 degrees, and we appeared to be celebrating our infamous fifth season here in Maine: Mud. Not five minutes after Greg finished cleaning the floors, the dogs commenced to bringing the outdoors indoors on their muddy little Beardie feet. The experience was nearly worthwhile, if only because we could open a couple of windows and could fetch the mail without having to bundle up first.
Scratch that. Yesterday, the latest installment in our weather saga fell out of the sky -- about a foot of it. Greg still has the intestinal fortitude to be happy to see snow at this time in the season, but I responded to it with approximately the same the same exclamations of joy as the ones I'd used on the skunk.