Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bigger Than Himself

Somehow, despite my best efforts, I have raised a jock. Duncan is wildly athletic, something I have spent most of my life avoiding--except for that brief stint when I ran cross-country back in junior high and high school. Duncan, though, prefers running to walking, seems to love snow more than dry warm grass, enjoys steep hills more than wide flat places, and swims the lakes at Chatfield until I have to drag him out. He loves my mother very much (although it could be argued that he loves her fingers specifically, because they slip him turkey and gravy whenever my back is turned) but it's possible he loves her mountain even more. Despite the fifteen plus inches of snow which have fallen since we've been here, he's dragged me up the hill through the wide drifts, deep into the juniper where he snorts and sniffs out the deer, which, I believe, may have replaced rabbits as his favorite fascination. He does not care that the hair on his legs and chest get deeply matted with enormous snowballs or that ice lodges under his pads. He simply stops where he is, picks his feet clean with his tongue and teeth and moves ever upward. The snow has covered much of the sage, drifting up around it and making sheltered little igloos beneath where the bunnies can roost. Duncan insists on investigating each of them and leaving a nice little calling card once he's done. Nothing on that mountain is beneath his attention and no place is beyond his reach.

This morning we climbed the hill again and then once I was fully exhausted I dragged him back down and to the street, where we walked until we came upon the horse pasture halfway down the lane. Dunc has never seen a horse up close so I pulled him over, patting their big heads while he dug around in the snow at my knees oblivious to their presence. Finally one of the big ones leaned down and huffed at him, blowing big steam in his face. Duncan froze and looked up, right into those two wide brown eyes and promptly lost control of his legs. They gave out from under him and his rump went down hard in the snow. Perhaps he thought their legs were merely fence posts or the trunks of sapling, I don't know. I do know that he'd never looked at something quite so big which could also look back at him. After several moments of consideration his legs resumed operation and he scooted behind me, keeping my big blue George Costanza coat between the horses and himself. When I stepped sideways, he did the same, much as he does at the fountain in the park in the summer. It must have seemed an eternity that we stood there while I scratched between the ears of the three horses which ambled over to investigate us. Finally he jumped up on my legs, whimpered pitifully and dragged me away from the fence and back onto the road where he led me straight back to Grandma's couch. Which is where he's been ever since.

Sometimes it's good, even for a dog, to have an expanded world view.


Sue said...

He is precious!

Oh, I would have loved to have seen him when he realized those horses were alive, and looking back at him. What a shock it must have been for him! Sure looks like the whole experience tuckered him out!

Lori said...

I second Sue! The look on his face must have been priceless!
Darwin is quite the jock, too. We were talking about his upcoming obedience training, and thinking that, if he's so inclined (and I can get off my lazy ass) maybe agility. Then I said maybe I'd SEND him to be trained in agility, telling them to send him home when he got tired. Then I realized he'd probably be 14 by then.

caboval said...

Ok, that last picture IS THE MOST precious I have ever seen Duncan. He should be a model! Hugs, Valerie

Anonymous said...

I would have loved to see Duncan's expression when the horse snorted. He is precious in the last photo.

Have a wonderful New Year.


merelyme said...

Happy New Year and I like the blue!

CJ said...

Duncan is looking so handsome and at peace. I notice my Lucy is starting to turn a bit white around the eyes and mouth and it saddens me.