Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Dog's Life

Since I have no life, I have to resort to writing about the dogs' adventures. And today was quite an eventful day for them.

We went for a long walk and visited one of the local dog runs. There they got harassed a bit by an overly exuberant Lab puppy. Zephyr was very adept at communicating through her body language that she was not going to stand for any funny business. Zeus had a more difficult time. He could not decide whether he wanted to play or be annoyed. Of course this indecision just encouraged the teasing by the Lab.

As we left, we were walking through the park and we spotted a squirrel. If we are far from a street and there aren't a lot of people around. I will let Zeus go and let him pursue the squirrel. He starts off slow, stalking the prey. He then picks up his pace as he nears the target or if the critter makes a break for it. Usually the squirrel runs up a tree and Zeus is left looking eagerly up into the branches. Meanwhile Zephyr and I run behind catching up with Zeus at the base of the tree.

Today, however, the squirrel ran past a perfectly good tree to climb up. Big mistake. What happened next took place in what seemed like slow motion. Zeus caught up with the squirrel and manged to latch on to its tail. He jerked at it and flung it up into the air where it rotated head over tail. Then as it was coming down, Zephyr lunged out of nowhere and caught it by its back legs. She then flung it to the side. Zeus was about to get it when I managed to step on his leash, stopping his progress. The limping squirrel was then able to escape to the safety of a tree.

I wasn't sure whether to feel proud or embarrassed or concerned. I felt bad for the squirrel. As much as I despise them, especially when they have tortured Zeus or when they were living in our attic, it still pained me to see it injured. I also felt like the whole world was looking at me and judging my vicious dogs that go around killing wild life. But then a little part of me was proud: my dogs got a squirrel!

Zeus and Zephyr were visibly proud of their accomplishment. It almost seemed like they knew that they had worked as a team and if it had not been for some unfortunate external intervention that squirrel would have been toast (or at least a snack).

Our adventures did not end there. Almost back to our apartment, we were about to pass a woman with a big black dog, some kind of lab mix. The dog spotted us and began to tug. He got away and began to sniff Zephyr while the woman yelled at it to stop. In these situations, I let Zephyr handle the social encounter and place myself between Zeus and the dog. Zeus does not do well in these situations, while Zephyr is quite used to social interaction. However, even Zephyr felt this dog was getting a bit too friendly and began to snap at it. Zeus tried to come to her rescue, but I managed to keep my body between him and the dog. In contrast to the squirrel experience, this one seemed to be happening in quick mode. At a certain point, I hear the woman yell, "Sir, can you help me? It is a seeing eye dog and I am blind!" I look up and I see the woman meandering around. I managed to reach down and grab the dog's leash. At this point all the canine parties calmed down. It was a bit bizarre, but I was in charge. I took the dog over to the woman and placed the leash in her hand. I asked her if she needed help or wanted me to walk them somewhere. She declined.

I am not sure what kind of seeing eye dog that was, but it certainly seemed like one that dropped out of training school. It certainly did not obey any of the commands and it actually could have put that woman in danger.

So that was our day. The dogs then got to nap the rest of the afternoon while I went grocery shopping, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, and made a Spanish tortilla.

At one point, Sara caught Zephyr twitching in her sleep and wondered whether she was dreaming about the squirrel. She probably was, she probably was...

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