Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dog Blog: Pupsicle Doofus

Maybe I can't read human minds as well as I thought I could, after all.

My walks have been a sometimes affair, lately. They try, but illness and tight schedules have forced the Mom Lady and the Hairy Guy to skip my long, leisurely walks most nights. If I'm lucky, the Mom Lady takes me to the school so I can run around while we wait for the kids; and the Hairy Guy still takes me for a brisk once-around-the-block at least every other night.

Fine, I understand. As long as I can get out and about in this cold. I am part husky, after all! Nothing revs me up like charging through piles of icy snow, barking. If you've never tried it yourself, you definitely should. Very cathartic.

I had to really turn on the charm the other day; full on puppy dog eyes, and my nose in a rump every time they moved toward the door. They finally got the hint, and even though he had just gotten back from camping the night before, the Hairy Guy caved, bundled up, and took me out.

We had a great time; he's so funny, pretending to be grumpy while I bounce from p-mail to p-mail along the trail. I try to give him lots of material to work with -- wrapping myself around poles and bushes, knocking over lawn ornaments, going berserk when I see other dogs -- just because he seems to enjoy complaining. My piƩce de resistance has been to wait until he has gathered up my poo in his little baggie, tied it securely, and deposited it in some public receptacle... then pinch out one more batch on someone's lawn (preferably while they are watching) so he has to scrounge around for some street trash or a discarded newspaper sack to avoid being caught leaving my mess behind.

Like I said, he acts really upset, but I can tell he enjoys solving these little "puzzles" ... keeps him sharp, and feeling intellectually superior to me.

But I fear I misread him the other day. We made it down to the park, despite the bitter cold blowing right into our faces. I found it invigorating, and he was grousing enough about it that I figured I didn't need to add to his "misery". We were so happy.

I could tell he wasn't really in a hurry, because when we got to the park, he led us over to the creek to see if it was frozen. There was just a small patch that was frozen, right where it is deepest. He said something aloud about wondering how thick it was, and looked around for a rock or branch to toss on it. But local kids have picked the river bank clean, throwing rocks and sticks into the "river" throughout the year, and the best he could come up with was an old, nasty tennis ball.

He held it out to me. "You aren't going to chase this, are you, stupid?" I ignored it, thinking he wanted to play with me. Don't call me stupid, stupid. "You sure?" he said, waggling it under my nose. I sniffed in disdain, and tried to crawl under a root system by the bank.

So, he chucked the ball down on the ice as hard as he could, and it went, "Poink!" and bounced once, then slithered to a stop against the other bank.

And I lost my mind. In my head, there was a perfect storm of influences; the natural urge to chase a ball... the misreading of his desire to play... and my husky nature, which said, "Ice means fun!" Before I knew it, I was soaring out from under the root system, and over the thinly, frozen water.

There was no splash; just a crunch, and I was in sub-zero water up to my neck. I could feel a tug on my harness, but it was feeble, since I had wrapped the lead around those roots. Hairy Guy came crashing down the bank, trying to untangle it, without falling in himself, and he seized my harness to pull me up to safety.

Back on dry (cold) land, I felt a rush. WHOO! I shook, and already crystallized chunks flew everywhere. Thick, oily hairs in my coat grabbed the water, and heated it quickly, forming an insulating layer by my skin, and the outer hairs spiked out, some drying quickly, others freezing.

"Holy crap!" shouted the Hairy Guy. He started urging me to run... back toward the house. A good 1/4 to 1/2 mile, uphill. I was game. I wish he'd run me more often, but he's a touch on the heavy side for that, if you know what I mean.

We got back to the house, and he collapsed in a steaming pile of wet outer wear, calling for the Mom Lady. They rushed me into a hot bath, and proceeded to wash me in the most undignified manner.

They lectured, teased, mocked, and imprecated me. They cast aspersions on my heritage, and rubbed mud and ice violently out of my fur. They turned the shower on me, the dog equivalent of waterboarding, if you ask me. But then it was over, and they dried me off, and turned me loose.

I guess I see where I made my mistake. Next time, I'll make sure he goes in with me, so he can see how refreshing a quick winter dip can be!

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