Monday, June 8, 2009

Five Minutes

It was a beautiful night, a bit cloudy and cool, and the grass had somehow managed to stay wet despite a lack of rain. Pete's wife, who's name I still don't know, and Sara––companions to Ross, our new yellow lab friend, and Gil, of Gil-Peed-On-Duncan fame––were in relaxed and cheerful moods as they watched their dogs play in the wide lawn that flows between four of the buildings.

Spotting Gil, and not wanting to give Duncan another bath, I planned to slip through, say our hellos and head to the park, but Sara was tossing a ball for Ross while Gil lounged at his mistress's feet, his orange eyes rolling back in his mutt-shaped head while she stroked his belly. Ross spotted Dunc and trotted merrily up, dropping the ball at his feet, his tail swishing back and forth dragging his butt this way and that. Gil did a funny twist and climbed to his feet, sniffing between both Ross and Duncan. I dropped the leash and let the dogs play for a moment while we three grown-ups chatted.

And then the fight started. Duncan and Ross were chasing the ball and each other while Gil lagged behind. It was when Duncan plopped down on the ball and rolled over that Gil leapt forward, grabbed him around the neck, shook him hard as he turned him over and went for his throat. We all stiffened and jumped into action with Gil's mom leading the charge. She attempted to reach between the two dogs to separate them but Sara and I pulled her back and warned her against ever doing that in the future.

I expected the fight to peter out but it didn't. Gil caught Duncan's ear and made the most horrific noises while he thrashed about. Duncan twisted and snarled and pushed back against the German Wire-Haired Pointer but couldn't get the advantage. Finally I stepped between them, raised my foot and kicked Gil square in the face, pulling Duncan back as I did. Gil fell over, jumped back up and came at us from the other side where Sara was waiting with a clenched fist which she unleashed right into Gil's jaw. While his mother pulled him away by the collar, struggling against his ongoing snapping and growling and lunging, Sara and I knelt and tended to Duncan's ear, which was scratched and bleeding lightly but not damaged. I poured some water over it and because Dunc was anxious to play in the park we headed on our way.

Bowles is a six-lane road with a wide, grassy, tree-lined island running down the length of it. Duncan has been trained to sit and wait at the curb until I give the go-ahead and then dash beside me as quickly as we can to the shady island where we wait to cross to the park. We made it the island and because the wind had been fierce yesterday it was covered in downed sticks and branches. I spotted a nice brown one right at the tip of my shoe and as the traffic sped past us I reached down to grab it only to touch my fingers against the moist, scaly surface of a snake, pinned beneath my toe and attempting to curl around my ankle. Being deathly––absurdly, even––afraid of snakes my entire body seized up and spasmed as I leapt back, pulling Duncan, who'd been patiently sitting and waiting for the cars to clear. Before the snake had even slithered off into the long grass I dragged us across the street not feeling safe until we were on the other side.

I dropped Duncan's leash, scoured the ground for sticks and as we moved past the big willow and toward the side of the small hill on the north side of the lower soccer field, I found one, a solid one, fat and gray that did not slither and hiss. Duncan did his happy puppy dance as I peeled the loose bark from it then tossed it around the side of the hill and directly at the sixteen year old couple on the other side, one standing talking to his father on the phone, the other kneeling before him doing... certain things better suited for the back seats of cars than a public park.

"Dad, it's okay," the boy protested, looking directly at me as his girlfriend continued doing what she was doing. "We're at the park. Everything is cool. Believe me. I'll be home in an hour." He looked down at his girlfriend and smiled proudly.

My eyes widened when I realized what was happening. I hurried toward Duncan who was galloping straight at them.

"Roo! Come!" I called, at which point the girl stopped what she was doing and froze. Duncan looked at her, she looked at me and all I could think was, Okay, so if that was me, caught red-handed, so to speak, how would I want the grown-up to react?

So I did the only thing I could think of. I gave them both a thumbs up, grabbed Duncan's leash and hurried away.

All in five minutes.


Lori said...

Holy crap, what a bizarre day!!! Could have been three distinct posts.

How will you deal with the Gil incident? You must have been furious and nearly hysterical. Some dogs don't take well to our goldens' sunny, outgoing, life's a party and everybody is my buddy attitude. They don't know that the last thing on Roo's mind is ruling any part of their world. It's all about the joy.

Snakes. Ick. Lurking right in the middle of the highway. Sneaky.

And the couple??? Sure, been a teenager, totally know all about inappropriate behavior in inappropriate locations. But... right there? Um, mothers wandering about with littles, potentially??? I think you handled it the best you could have, but still... rather uncomfortable, especially after what you'd just been through.

Glad Dunc is okay!

And, through it all... you managed to avoid finding the closest available cigarette???

caboval said...

OMG! I cant believe what a day you had! And a snake too???? Yikes!!! We have an award for you! Hugs Joey and Kealani

Charlie said...

What a day - a dog fight and a snake!! I can't imagine really having to deal with either, let alone both. Good job, Curt!

- Anne

Sue said...

WOW! Talk about a lot going on!

Your description of the teenagers made me a litte queasy...I've got two of them....yikes! (Momma keeps a good eye on them though!)

Sue said...

And by the way, you were very cool to give them a thumbs up...I would have blown a gasket!

CJ/Rick said...

Curt you managed to keep your cool and that is what counts. I don't know about Golden's sunny side:mine is over protective of me and her sister. It's embarrassing when she growls and barks at others and their dogs. What an outing you had. Never a dull moment huh?

Greg said...

Wow, I had imagined life would be a little more exciting for me after striking out on my own, but you are really living the Dream, my friend.

: )

Ruby's Mum said...

Wow, what a jam-packed, adventure-laden evening you guys had!

I hope Duncan is none the worse for being attacked. That Gil sounded like trouble from the get go.

Cheryl said...

Pass the word to Gil...when grandma Cheryl next visits, she's kickin some dog butt. (But do something about the snake, you know they scare the hell out of me). XO

Traci said...

"Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?"

KBL 2 ORD 2 SAN 2 LUV said...

Hello there Duncan & Dad,

I must say that I have often lurked here reading your blog, but have never commented. Yet, you were considerate enough to stop by my little corner of Blogistan and leave a thoughtful note for our Achilles. It means a lot.

I almost left a comment once about how I grew up in Chicago and then briefly lived in the western suburb of Carol Stream...we often went to Lake Forest to visit my sister's friends, but I obviously didn't. I'm sorry for that now.

I hope to see you at our place again...I'll be back here for sure.

Thank you again for your kind and very true words.

Nik said...

Why am I happy that you kicked the dog? And that Sara punched him?