Thursday, November 6, 2008

Of Dogs and Children

A fine specimen of muttdom who was once thoroughly capable at dropping a deer solo at full tilt flight. Yet curiously terrified of thunder and fireworks.

So huge is her reaction to booming sounds, I have grown to totally dread the arrival of Independence Day. It means the sudden appearance of having 98 pounds of wriggling, clawing and totally horrified dog flesh ... complete with hair wafting about like rain depositing herself on the top of my desk. Whether she leaps or crawls to seek shelter in close proximity to me her elected protection zone. The outcome is ultimately the same.

Should I be away when the noise begins and she is outside, she will dig for China through wahtever material is handy, seeking shelter in the closeness of her tunnel. If I leave her in the house alone she climbs into the bathtub. Other choice areas deemed secure from fallout will be that30" square cubby hole beneath my desk, the forbidden area on top of my bed or the ridiculous cramped position in the 15" span between commode and bathtub wall.

Fearless and yet totally without a stance, the hunter at times feels she is the hunted. She isn't really a "kid's dog" and never has been. She would never bite, but does know how to sound off a very effective warning. Always followed by the cold shoulder and a royal yet hasty exit of the area.

Old Sadie ... the original "Feather-Lipped Chicken Eater" has grown quite mellow over the years. She now tolerates the gibberish and the clumsy petting of those who are wee but so very close to me. She has not an ounce of patience for being rudely tumbled upon. The antics of my girls can drive her right out the door quickly. An escape she is most emphatic about when her tolerance reaches that threshold.

Who really can blame the wizened old gal. In people years she will turn 13 come Thanksgiving. In dog years that makes her 91. Every year of which her movements definitely echo. I no longer worry about having her deposit her body between me and the screen. Today, this would be a feat far beyond her capabilities.

Oddly enough, she does however get completely excited when the girls arrive for a stay at Nonnie's. At first glance, it may seem a strange and internal argument with Sadie's particular points of view. Until you consider the food factor.

Small children are very messy eaters. Every dog's dream is realized when human food is presented for consumption. While they may irritate her at times, any occasion involving food when the girls are here brings her frantically scratching to be readmitted. She can smell a slice of American cheese being unwrapped through two closed doors while snoring soundly over 50 feet away.

This past weekend, the girls were here for three days on end. Poor old Feather Lips moods radically rose and fell with every meal and sporadic snack occurrence day in and day out. In for food and out when the squealing and silliness got past the tolerance point.

The youngest is 19 months old and her English is at best ... challenged, though she is trying to pick up the language. One morning the eggs were accompanied by bagels with cream cheese. If there is food being eaten, Sadie will take up residence directly beneath that wee one's chair. Always watching each bite expectantly as surely something will soon fall to the floor and become fair fodder.

The child is totally aware of the dog lying in wait. She is also guilty of purposefully feeding Sadie the parts of each handful she has no use for. Trying to keep this pair separated is useless and so the companionship blossoms, though the attraction centers totally around food.

There she is with a quarter of a bagel in her pudgy hands, sitting sideways in the chair while actively separating the cheese from the bread. Looking down, the child removes the chunk from her mouth and vehemently shakes her head at the drooling dog. "Unh unh," she chortles. "Iz mines." This proclamation only holds court until the cheese is completely licked off.

At which point Sadie is richly rewarded with the bagel bone she has waited for with bated breath. Another moment that should have been on film but is totally lost save for memory.

Its a true love saga of strange proportions that unfolds like any soap opera. Always in front of a live audience though it is only me, myself and I who is attending. Such is the bond between my wee humans and this old, crochety dog. Food is good and shenanigans are not welcome.