There have been times in my life when I've gone weeks - maybe even months - without experiencing a single Close Encounter Of The Canine Type.
Last week was not one of those times.
I actually ended up with 2.5 Close Encounters (which I've rounded up to three just because it gives me a feeling of power).
My first Close Encounter occurred on Easter Sunday when I puppysat for a friend. I've done this before, but it's been quite awhile - maybe more than a year. Had my puppysitting skills grown rusty in the interim? I'm happy to say that they had not!
Here's what my little visitor looked like:
She's a teacup Yorkie (just in case you couldn't tell). Not much bigger than a guinea pig, but a whole lot furrier. (Unless your particular guinea pig happens to be *very* furry.)
VERY easy to take care of (unlike, say, a hungry St. Bernard or a rabid Rottweiler), but... surprisingly needy.
Which is to say, almost as needy as a child being left at school for the first time or a politician in desperate need of corporate campaign donations.
Which doesn't bother me at all, but... it does raise certain questions in my mind.
Why would nature create such a needy beast?
But of course nature didn't - human breeders have. So... why? Was it intentional? Or did breeding for miniature cuteness inadvertently allow certain pack-herd genes to go wild?
All I know is that I would have had to smear food all over my body before the cats in my life would have ever paid me half as much attention.
Maybe someday they'll create a species of miniature elephants with the same intense desire to snuggle down on one's lap?
The mind reels....
My second Close Encounter of the week occurred on Tuesday. I was out in my yard about to refill a bird feeder with seed when all of a sudden a cold, wet nose was exploring my dangling left hand.
I looked down and found myself next to a fairly large Husky-German Shepherd mix.
This is not the sort of thing I look forward to discovering unless I'm in need of a cure for severe constipation.
Fortunately, the beast that appeared to be approximately a zillion times bigger and heavier than a teacup Yorkie seemed friendly - or at least non-hostile. A bit hyper, though - and I soon discovered why when I heard a man calling for her. Obviously she was an escapee enjoying her first taste of freedom ever. Or maybe she just had a bad case of doggie ADD. Maybe both had a role in prompting her to quickly leave my hand behind and run off to explore this plant, and that stick, and everything else within a one-block radius before she was captured. You would have thought she was a kid in her first candy shop. Or maybe a Republican at his first gun show. (Feel free to go with whatever analogy best explains why my limbs didn't end up being pierced by teeth meant to kill small prey.)
I think the guy who was calling her called her Rhoda. Which is such a rare name these days that I didn't realize what it was until I came in and wrote it down for the historical record. I first wrote "Roda" and did an online search, thinking it might be some famous anime character I'd been lucky enough to never have heard of before.
My S.O. thinks the guy might actually have been calling "Yoda" but I don't think so - partly because it didn't sound like Yoda, but mainly because it's the law in Ohio that after you've been with an S.O. for more than 10 years you MUST disagree with all their suggestions and opinions. (And if you're together in a restaurant Ohio law says that you MUST voice your disagreement as loudly as possible. Just go to any Ohio restaurant and see for yourself.)
Here's a fleeting glimpse of the beast I'm talking about:
And not that it matters, but... this is the second time in 10 years that I've been surprised by a big dog in my own yard. I don't much like it. If it happens one more time in the next 10 years, I'm gonna seriously consider getting myself a fence. Or maybe body armor.
And just for future reference: How much would I have to pay you to refill my bird feeders for me?
My third Close Encounter of the week came on Wednesday and - truth be told - wasn't really very close at all. It involved a red pick-up truck with a big dog in it going by while I sat in my office looking for excuses not to do what I felt I had to. I'm not sure what kind of truck or dog I'm talking about, but the truck has a cover over the back - one of those covers (cabs?) with windows. I think the dog was under the cover, but I can't be sure. The windows were dark. I know there was a dog behind them somewhere, though, because I could hear a dog barking from inside the truck for a block in both directions.
This has been going on with some regularity for years now. Not so much in recent months, but I bet this truck and this dog have gone by at least 50 times in the last 5 years.
And it always goes back the other way in an hour or two.
BARK! BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK! BARK!
I've thought about jumping up and chasing it down the street in hopes of finally seeing exactly what kind of dog is making this distinctive racket, but... that's not the sort of thing mature Americans do, is it?
So instead I'm left to wonder who in the hell drives around with a loud, barking dog in their pick-up all the time.
As loud as the beast's bark is from where I'm at, it must be positively deafening inside a closed up truck.
Exactly whose idea of fun is this?
My S.O. has suggested that maybe it's just a tape playing. And maybe it is, since the barking NEVER changes in pitch or rhythm or speed - but of course I have to disagree. It's the law.
Is it possible that it's actually the driver doing a helluva good dog impersonation??
I guess there are some things I'll probably never know for sure.
That just might be a good thing.