Toy time with Andie is one of the great pleasures of the day. We have three theme songs which are hummed or have opening lyrics like: “dada ta da.” Then one of three themes come forth: The Adam’s Family, Wizard of Oz and/or the theme from Jaws. Pull tug, tennis ball, or wool bone sometimes appear for variety, but usually Andie goes for Squeak Bug or Yellow Dog. However this week it must be said that the week started with a consternation, a mystery, a search. Squeak-Bug disappeared.
This was no light event, because Squeak was Andie’s most favorite toy. Squeak was small, fitting just right into Andie’s mouth and was colorful as any Pride parade ever visited upon our beloved city of San Francisco—-just up the highway a’piece . You couldn’t miss her bright happy colors of turquoise, yellow legs, fluffy lime green feet, lavender face with big eyes and smile. GONE!
Andie seemed to move on from the event with little memory of her old friend, but I searched high and low for Squeak, under the bed, behind the desk, every nook and cranny inside the cottage—-nothing. I searched outside along the paths of Andie’s haunts—-nada.
Perhaps a circling, keen-eyed red hawk carried her away, or even that evil old squirrel who habitually carries off my prized Rembrandt tulips and replaces them with acorns. GAAAAA! So, therefore, is the consternation. I gave up and we moved on. Yellow dog became the new favorite. Previously yellow dog had joined Squeak in a duet of noise to delight Andie. Now it was just an aria of singularity. The week went by, no Squeak.
Somethings took precedent after the AWOL Squeak, most notably laundry, which I hate to do, particularly folding. After three weeks of piled up laundry and the intention of folding, and then having to move it back to the laundry room from the bedroom after the day had passed and other events ( Squeak) imposed a dereliction of duty. Andie loves just-dried laundry on the bed, particularly if it is still warm and prime for a nesting bed. Well, the pile on top of the drier could no longer be ignored. Towels, T-shirts, and Gawd knows what else kept falling off onto the floor and had to be reckoned without delay. Yep, you guessed it, under all that laundry was Squeak, newly restored to Andie’s delight.
I imagine that if you stayed with me this long through the Andie narratives, you realize that this is a metro version of a man and his dog. Herein is no heroic stories of wilderness slaughtering of animals, dog takes after Grizzly to save man, Pit Bull fights or dog saves Michael in blinding snowstorm drama. Still, I must say this little Cocker can point, hold and carry with the best of them.
I just hope the Andie stories don’t come across like those of our upscale, local, natural fibers, heavy gold, new, wine country mothers, who fill the Safeway isles with strollers the size of Mac Trucks and record every brilliant mulling nuance of her first born’s post fetus genius on her I-phone. I must admit I do carry pictures of Andie in my wallet just in case an emergency brag should be needed. Andie does her own PR however and is really a genius at cute…..no really. Even the natural fibers moms love Andie. One even took a selfie with her.
Andie is really advancing in her ninja sneaker skills. In the bedroom where we sleep is another desk. Unlike the study desk this one is largely there to hold shelves of art books, photo albums, poetry and pictures of friends, family and loved ones. There is even a pile of old dog toys from former dearly beloved fur persons.
Tucked into the desk’s alcove is an old maple arm chair from the Vermont farm house days. Over the back of the chair is a corduroy shirt that hangs down to the carpet and provides a cave-like, irresistible exploring place for Andie. I have customarily placed my walking shorts, sweats and T-shirts on the seat of that chair, because it’s handy and I’m too lazy to run back and forth to the clothes closet.
What I didn’t figure is that the pockets of those clothes contain Andie’s dog treat kibble and so explained why they somehow appeared out from under the corduroy curtain and had wet dog slobber pockets. Sneaker dog outfoxed me again.
We both like the outside and have a lot of fun there. Andie has free run of the garden and it makes me happy to let her have an exploring life off the leash. I must admit she is doing really well at our training sessions. She’s got all the basics down, including the new one–‘Drop It.’ ‘Drop it’ includes her new passion for acorns, which gets her crisscrossing the trail, when we take longer walks. But, for all the fun we have on the week days when Andie, not occupied with acorns, can trace every quail, assorted bush birds, possum, skunk, fox, coyote, and rabbit that has created nocturnal passing’s-by on the scene, we avoid Saturday and Sunday in our favorite walk time.
The weekends are too dangerous, because all the amateur bikers are out in their sound-wired insect helmets, beautifully colored Lycra sinew Italian sleekness and multi geared Swiss bicycles. They seem to have forgotten basic trail etiquette like: “On your right”, or ring bells. We dog lovers are not happy, because these weekenders come up on us at thirty or forty miles an hour from behind and if our dogs are crisscrossing, major danger lurks.
But for all that Andie makes dog friends easily and brings a wonderful atmosphere to meeting new people and basking in positive fibs. Andie likes cats and has made two almost friends with local cats. I say ‘almost’ because cats don’t really have friends, but Andie seems to be able to vib them. The other day a big old neighborhood Tabby settled onto one of the wine barrel planters in the back, just warming in the sun. Andie caught sight of her, walked over to the barrel, and stood up with her paws on the rim. Ms. Cat just looked at her, no raised hackles, hiss’s or tail flicking. They just touched noses and Andie was off to hunt apples.
By mid afternoon, especially on these magnificent Autumn days Andie and I take a walk around the garden where I do some pruning, weeding, planning for yet another season, or just ambling, while Andie eats the last of the Summer strawberries. We are happy. It’s time for a Sunday nap.