The puppy has morphed into a prairie-dog Doberman. Constant digging at least keeps her busy and a busy puppy is a happy puppy. Mother’s little excavator. But I have woefully underestimated her. Leaf litter camouflages the multitude of holes scattered around the lawn. Her satanic majesty faintly smiles in the late day sun and regally lies in wait for her prey to fall into one of her traps. I detect the slightest red glow pulsing from her innocent brown eyes as I myself become the prey and tumble headlong. I am a hardy sort and know how to roll with the punches, yet as I fall, one foot stays behind, trapped under a root imbedded in the hole.
Diabolical! Through my pain I am forced to admire the puppy’s innovation as she circles me, yapping in glee at her success. She won’t get the better of me! I grab a plastic lawn chair for support. Not a great idea. Still it gives just enough leverage to allow me to hobble to the picnic table. I tentatively test the ankle. Ah…there’s that vocabulary of truck-driver profanity again! I manage a less than graceful imitation of a whooping crane as I curse my way to the house.
An assortment of antique canes resides in my attic, most much too fragile for my present needs and the treacherous climb seems more than counterproductive. Time for resourceful thinking. What is cane-like? Shovel? On the porch covered with dog-poop. Mop? Munched by puppy and discarded. Broom? Ditto. Umbrella? From the closet comes a huge black monster with a crooked handle, a real London bumbershoot, musty and unused since the Manhattan days, a perfect substitute cane. Until I forget its original purpose and mistakenly push the release button and the world’s largest umbrella springs open to full size in the bathroom while I brush my teeth. The puppy habitually perches on the toilet for a better view of my mysterious mirrored activities involving soap, eyedrops, toothpaste --- tasty snacks all. Now, psychologically unprepared for the umbrella explosion, she skedaddles off the toilet, skids on the rug and magically disappears. A siren-like wail echoes down the hall. The suddenly-useless cane substitute must be refurled before I can maneuver from my trapped area between tub and sink. All is not lost as I remember a pill bottle containing a lone surviving Percoset buried in the archaeology of the towel drawers. I gulp it down gratefully, enlist a package of peas from the freezer (broccoli being far too lumpy for a good ice pack) stumble to bed, secure the frozen bag with a sock and drift off, blessing the drug industry.
Recovered from her umbrella shock, the former excavator (now the freshly-sympathetic nurse) sneaks into my bed --- surely with the best of intentions. Since she has decimated the remaining flowerheads, her inner nutritionist craves other vegetable matter and as I doze she consumes all the frozen peas, daintily leaving the dripping plastic bag remnants to decorate my ankle. A good dog, a lovely dog, she has within the past week learned to be more specific about her potty needs, and soon even she can sense the urgency of a pound of frozen peas churning a swath through her digestive tract.
NOW! NOW! NOW! She yaps shrilly into my ear. As I awaken the pain is momentarily vanquished courtesy of the Percoset, but returns vehemently as I stagger towards the door. My ankle screams, OW! OW! OW! The puppy shrieks, NOW! NOW! NOW! The methane aroma of pea-digested product precedes me and I grit my teeth against the OW and concentrate on the NOW. Door is opened. Puppy bursts forth. Somewhere in the leaf-littered pot-holed lawn there is another trap waiting.
I pray for snow.
Causes Mara Buck Supports
Kennebec Valley Humane Society, Amnesty International