Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Retreat

Duncan has never given up on a walk. Not once. Even when he was sick after eating 500 feet of yarn, when he was hunched up on the grass puking up an endless line of bright red fluff which had been meant for a scarf, he wanted to walk. I was in a frenzy, uncertain what to do, but there was Roo, a trooper through and through, a length of yarn caught in his stomach and hanging out of his mouth dragging on the ground beside him, gagging and whining around it while still attempting to make the rounds. Last winter, when snow would ball up under his sweet paws, causing him to limp, he wanted to do another lap around the lake, maybe head down Leawood and see what was shaking on the elementary school ball field where he likes to run. There where frozen nights, tall and cloudless with a moon whiter than exposed bone, when I had to drag him home and carry him across the parking lot because his feet hurt so bad. He has never given up.

Until tonight.

I'd come home, found him curled up on the bed, or rather in it. Somehow or another he decided the bed would be more comfortable if he swirled the sheets around himself and propped his head under one of the pillow, a single back paw and his tail the only sign of him protruding from under the comforter. He snorted when I sat next to him and plucked his paw up into my hand. We attempted our welcome-home routine, which entails a lot of rolling around and pawing and huffing, all of which took place tonight under the covers. When he did finally emerge he grabbed my wrist in his mouth and trotted us down the hall, through the dining and living rooms to the front door where he wiggled his bum and chirped like a bird until I leashed him up and pulled on my cap.

Duncan is an eager walker and pulls hard on his leash when we first leave, only calming down once we cross Bowles, where he sits nicely, smiling up at me while we wait for the traffic to clear before crossing. He did all of that, and once we reached the lower soccer field he traipsed and gallivanted, head held high after discovering someone's discarded soccer sock, which he carried proudly, like a shot duck, in his mouth. We played chase for quite awhile until he suddenly stopped and looked north toward the big queen willow. A soft whine came to his throat, and although he didn't release the sock he stared nervously and kept looking over his shoulder at me. Finally he began a slow walk back up the hill, keeping his eyes trained on the tree and the tall reeds which crowd her base, and moved across the larger field, a nearly inaudible whine rising up from his chest as we went. He led me back across the park to Bowles, where he plopped his rear down in the cold grass and waited to cross, never looking away from the willow. There was no reluctance as we entered the parking lot and headed toward home. By the time we reached the door he was practically running, dragging me behind.

It was only an hour later, sitting on the patio watching two bright southern stars rise up over the trees that I heard the yipping of the coyotes over the grind of the traffic and understood why he wanted to come home.

4 comments:

Lori said...

I'd heard those stars were especially bright last night... and never doubt your dogs' instincts. Maybe it was just stars and stirred-up coyotes, but since they know things we don't, I always listen when my dogs do something out of character.

caboval said...

Yep I understand the coyote thing. One time they had been on our property and they must have made a kill because Joey and Kealani wouldnt stop sniffing and their hair stood up and Kealani was whining. Then Kealani was to afraid to leave our porch for a day! And at night when they howl Kealani will curl up with me and get as close as she can for protection. Good for Duncan looking out for you! Curt BTW Happy Thanksgiving and I am thankful to have found you! Hugs, Valerie Joey and Kealani

Lori said...

Curt & Duncan: You've been tagged! (Check out the details on my blog.)

Charlie said...

Amazing!
- Anne