One way or another. So, did I mention that Alex's "setup" trip to the woods today turned out to be a hunting trip instead? Yeah. Thrilled. He did send regular texts, and this amazing photograph of the view from the deer-stand, which I'm debating submitting to National Geographic.
So, after about seven "doing fine" text messages, I went--oh, no, wait. Let me tell the dog story first. Because it happened first, and otherwise I'll get all confused.
I had showered and was in the middle of getting dressed (which means that I got distracted by something shiny like Twitter), when I heard the dogs losing their ever-loving minds. You might think that six dogs (shut up--until very recently, there were EIGHT) barking always sounds pretty much the same, but you'd be mistaken. I know their every sound, from "I need to pee," to "I'm hungry" (and even a variation for "I'm thirsty," seriously), to "That cat, I HATE HER," to "There's a squirrel!" to "One of those horses is rolling on the ground--this is my chance to eviscerate it, if only I could open the DOOR!" Delta is especially expressive, and it was her voice that led the mood of the pack, and it was plainly saying, "There is some HIGHLY UNAUTHORIZED presence on MY property and if you don't COME HERE NOW I am going to go 100% COMPLETELY BUG-NUTS." So I went. And looked out the windows. The huge, floor-to-ceiling windows.
And saw nothing. And so I asked Delta, "What?" She looked at me like I was The Single Daftest Human On The Planet, whined crazily, and, I swear to mergatroid, POINTED. When I followed her gaze that time, I saw him. Hated Yellow Dog.
I used to say to myself that I didn't hate this actual dog, but that I resented his owners for letting him roam free. For not caring whether he got hit by a car, poisoned by spilled anti-freeze, or attacked by another dog. For not respecting the rights of their neighbors to NOT host this stupid (not a judgment, he's dumb as a post) yellow mutt (again, not judging--he's a mixed breed of unknown origins). After all, I'd say, in my most reasonable voice-inside-my-head, it's not the dog's fault that his owners are at best ignorant and careless, and at worst, downright rude, self-centered, and abusive. (Lots of people think that once you move out to the country, all bets are off. Wrong. There is STILL a leash-law, even out here.)
But I slowly came to realize that I DO hate this particular dog. Personally. I don't wish any harm on him--in fact, I wish he could be adopted by people who care enough about him to know where he is, and to keep him safe. I want that for every dog. But every time Hated Yellow Dog comes onto MY property and follows me, barking, as I get my mail or open and close my gate, I like him less. When I have to get up extra early on Friday mornings to gather up all the trash, and Alex has to leave for work earlier to get it put out in time for the truck, because if we put it out the night before, Hated Yellow Dog would tear it to shreds, I hate on him more. When I have to go out and look around for HYD before I let my own dogs out into their own yard to do their business, I hate him more. When I find yet another hole dug under the perimeter fence, from the woods-side INTO our property, I loathe him. The list goes on. I want to go to his owner's house, and say, "Hey, did you know I have dogs, too? You didn't? You know why that is? Because I KEEP THEM HOME." But I don't, because I'm not sure who his owner is. Plus I'm chicken, and way more PASSIVE-aggressive than outright aggressive.
So today, when, at Delta's insistence, I looked out the window and saw HYD not only on my property, but just FEET from my front door, I snapped. That's just entirely too bold. Please understand that to be where he was required a trespass of a good 400 feet. And that our entire property, all 5 acres (but for a couple hundred feet of driveway) of it, is fenced, in 6-foot-high chain-link. Apply all appropriate cliches here. "I saw red" is a good one. I just looked at Delta, and asked, "You want him?" She said, "YESYESOHPLEASEJUSTWORKTHEDOORKNOBFORMEPLEASEYESYESPLEASE!" And so I opened the door, and unleashed the Curly Hound of Hades upon HYD. I might have even quietly said, "Get him."
It should be understood that after two years, I know HYD. I know him to be a barking, stupid coward that runs if you look at him. And I know Delta, and the fact that she can run like lightning and has a recall like turning on a dime, no matter what she might be doing. She also only chases what runs, for she has a high prey-drive, not an overdeveloped sense of courage. Still, I'm not recommending siccing your dog on anyone/anything like some common Arkansas hillbilly (ahem). In fact, I'm telling you NOT to do that. Do as I say, etc. But there it is. And the joy I experienced for those 2-3 seconds while Delta had HYD tearing as fast as his poorly-conformed legs could carry him up our driveway...well, it was a little sick. Like I said, DON'T do this. Letting my dog out when I knew that a strange dog (although he's not really a "stranger," since his visits are so frequent) was present was stupid and irresponsible. You don't have to tell me that. I know. Did I mention we'd increased my hormone dosage? It hasn't kicked in just yet.
When HYD had made it all the way to the gate at the top, and Delta was closing in to within a few feet of him, I called her back. Someday, I must capture on video the patented Delta Flying Recall, in which she executes a 180-degree turn entirely in the air, and comes flying back to us, seemingly never losing a second of momentum. She was back at my side almost before I finished barking out (heh, barking) "Delta, HERE!", and I ushered her back into the house. And then I saw it, and lost what was left of my mind.
As soon as Delta wasn't chasing him any more, HYD simply turned around, and started trotting BACK DOWN MY DRIVEWAY. Well, at this point, I'd had it. I went outside, and uttered the most gutteral, larynx-ripping scream of "GETOUTTAHERE!" that you ever heard in your life. And HYD, as is usual, ran like a scalded cat again. And then, through the trees on the other side of our fence, away up at the top of the hill in the woods, I saw some of the neighbor kids playing. And on the off-chance that one of those kids belonged to this dog, I figured I'd just go ahead and make a point. So I yelled some more. Very clear concepts, such as "GO HOME!" and "GET OUT, DOG!", as loudly as possible. I remember thinking that, in my crazed state, and with my heavy accent, I probably sounded like something out of "Cops: Little Rock."
Which is when I realized that, if I could see those kids way up there, then they could probably see me, especially since I was standing down here screaming my fool head off. Following close on the heels of this bit of genius self-awareness was the realization that, in addition to standing in front of my house hollering like Granny Clampett, I was also, just at that moment, wearing jeans, a pair of clogs, and...a bra. Yes, hello! I am the crazy lady who stands on my porch, topless, screaming at dogs and children! Won't you stop by for tea sometime?
And that was just the beginning of the ruination of my image today. I'll have to save the rest for tomorrow, for now I am worn out. As Jer (the most entertaining IM-er on the face of the planet) said, you can probably start looking for my performance on YouTube within a few hours, using the tags "crazy, topless, hillbilly, woman, screams, at dog, fat, OMG, the humanity."
But honestly, America? KEEP YOUR DOGS AT YOUR OWN HOME. Seriously. Because the rest of us? We do not love them. And if you ever see one of mine running around the neighborhood, please send help to my home, because it probably means that I'm lying in my doorway, unconscious, and they're looking for help, or perhaps a snack. And when you find me there, in that state? Throw a robe over me, please.
Yes, You Can Help Stir, OK?
Here And There
Gettin' Our Huhr Did
The Curious Incident Of The Fried Raccoon In The Nighttime