Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Crime & Punishment Redux

It was a beautiful morning, nearly 50˚ degrees by the time we went for our first walk of the day. Duncan was quick to climb from bed, and eagerly pranced around the apartment while I made his breakfast and opened the windows to let the day's warm air waft through the apartment. I sang one of my favorite Poi Dog Pondering songs to him while I scooped out the dehydrated salmon from the box  and into his bowl before pouring warm water over it. He sat at the edge of the kitchen, ears up high, tail swishing back and forth while he watched me and waited.

"Dreams dreamt and thoughts thunk
Tooth brushed and watch wound
Before toast and tea
Before toast and tea
Breakfast! Good morning everybody,
The sun is up and there's
lots of toast and jelly.
Wash Wash, you gotta wash the dishes
If you're gonna eat upon 'em, 
ya gotta wash 'em.
You can get it if you really want,
you gotta try hard, try hard. 
Keep on the sunny side."

We walked down The Run, which, after a week of temperatures in the 60's, is nearly free of ice. Duncan galloped ahead, scattering the squirrels and sniffing among the low shrubs for the little brown birds hidden among their branches. I strolled idly behind, watching his propeller of a tail cut through the bushes, pushing him forward. On the low branch of a scrawny and young maple a single squirrel, fat and talkative, perched and watched me carefully. Duncan had prowled ahead and seemed caught up in his own business so I reached into my pocket and took out a bit of one of the papaya and mango coconut crunchers I keep there. The squirrel leaned far forward as I held it up. She sniffed cautiously then crawled slowly down the thin trunk toward me, reaching out two tiny paws, the nails long and dark, cupped the thing and pulled it from between my fingers. No sooner had she chittered softly at me and put it in her mouth than Duncan was at my side, practically standing on my foot glaring up at me contemptuously.

"We have plenty to share," I told him but he barked and leapt and chased the squirrel up the tree, far away from us.

"That wasn't very nice," I scolded. He stared at me a moment longer, huffed then turned his back and stomped away.

After we returned home he refused to sit still while I said the blessing before he ate, turning his head away from me and refusing to add anything after I'd finished, as he does every morning. After he'd eaten and I'd packed my bags, he hid in his kennel and refused to come out to give me a kiss. I said a soft farewell, wished him the cats a good day and descended the stairs. I glanced up at the window, expecting to see him perched there, the sun on his face, his tongue lolling out, but saw nothing. He was mad that I'd given one of his treats to a sworn enemy and wasn't about to let me off the hook easily at all.

Tonight when I came home there was no chirping dance, no playful tail wagging, only patient waiting while I changed clothes and grabbed his leash. Once we'd crossed the street to the park he sauntered on ahead, careful to keep his back to me and stopping every three or four feet to tirelessly examine every fallen leaf, every gum wrapper, every twig and branch which had come down during the weekend's wind. I tugged on his leash and encouraged him to move along but to no avail. He had taken control and was not going to allow himself to be rushed. I took him to the nook where the bunnies roost, I led him to the field to chase geese into the sunset sky, I offered him treat after treat but his will has proven unbreakable. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for Beau, the puppet double who played him in the holiday video. After dinner, while I rinsed dishes and put away food, Duncan forcibly removed Beau's tail, both ears and a sizable portion of a leg before I was able to rescue the poor fellow and put him up some place high, far from Duncan's wrath.

I'll make it up to him tomorrow. Somehow. Any suggestions? I've certainly learned not to feed the squirrels.


Sam said...

Isn't it funny how Golden's manage to do that to us? Try walking him a few times in a different area - it may help him overcome his bitterness about that particular area. I could tell you volumes about my first Golden Daisy and her disapproval of almost every action...

Good Luck!


Charlie said...

He loves you, so I'm inclined to think it will pass. But if it were Charlie, I'd offer a ride in the C.A.R.

Greg said...

Surely his memory will fade, as long as he doesn't catch you treating the squirrels (with HIS food, anyway) again soon.

Best wishes for Beau's recovery. Glad to see the reports of the blog's demise were exaggerated!

David said...

Remind me never to cross Duncan.