I love writing this column especially because sometimes I get so much feedback from those convinced that there is a certain philosophical skew to my writings.
That's not true of course, but it does seem to twist some Dollar-Discount minds into such knots that they are convinced that the brief tomes should be relegated to Post-It Notes taped to discarded refrigerators while others respond with great shots of humor that I save to steal from later.
This month I'm traveling along an unusual subject path trying to explain how totally different dogs can exist in the same universe (our cabin) for years and then suddenly stop acknowledging the existence of each other.
Little Bear, our 13-year-old Toy Poodle, has decided that no other creatures have any relevance to her unless they bring her food, act as a door-opening slave or is the alpha female also known as my wife.
This negative aura has also enveloped Howard, our resident mutant mutt who for a better use of words could now give a &$#* less what she thinks because he's even older, lazier and gets winded chewing his food.
The situation really isn't all that bothersome until they need to do their outside duties and to check for any "special" messages other animals might have left on the trees or not so daintily deposited in the yard.
Howard normally wants to accompany the mini mutt on these excursions. That was a good thing, but now he just lies like a stack of hairy firewood by the stove when she heads for the exit -- thus she no longer has a bodyguard.
This is a bad thing.
With him along I've never had to worry about other creatures disturbing her ablutions. His size and fusty breath alone guaranteed her acres of free roaming. But no more, now she requires a humanoid in close proximity.
I didn't realize how close until this morning.
Around dawn when the raptors aren't up yet and looking for a snack I usually just stand on the deck and watch her piddle around at the bottom of the stairs or sweep snow while she's busy.
Today the paper had arrived early and while I went to retrieve it she decided to take an unapproved trek to the back yard via sneaking under two vehicles and around a pile of firewood. When I turned around Little Bear was gone. I wasn't that concerned because we had just installed a miniature flasher on the back of her chest halter making her easy to spot if she was in line-of-sight.
Just as I set out on a search-and-scold mission I spotted the red, white and blue strobe headed back from the area of the well house. I couldn't quite see her dark grey bod but the beacon looked cool until I saw a shadowy apparition following her. It was cow moose plodding along like L.B. had her on a leash. The ungulate had her nose down and was sniffing the diminutive creature's rear end like some curious dog. Little Bear acted like she didn't have a clue the old cow was there or could care less. With her 'tude lately, I'll go with the latter.
Anyway, the bizarre procession continued until it neared my truck and the moose spotted me frozen on the deck. She stared up with an inquiring look as if to say "Is thing yours? If so, what's with the light show? By the way, jerk, this the last time I'm acting as an escort service. One my kids could have accidentally turned her into poodle paste." Sure enough two yearlings stepped out from the darkness.
Point made, mamma.
Now if I can only get the canines on sniffing terms again.
Jane thinks maybe I should pull in the big guns and reach out to those readers who might have some special insights into our curs' obvious avoidance of each other.
That could be one possible solution, but I'm thinking that they're just going through a crusty curmudgeon phase that elderly old partners sometimes experience.
I remember that happening to Wild Willie and his pet milk goat, Curdle, a couple of years back. They literally started butting heads one spring and it got so bad that W.W. ended up taking an ineloquent belly flop into a gulley full of nettles when Curdle whacked him from behind. The ongoing conflict ended suddenly when W.W. changed the unfortunate animal's name to "Stew."
Maybe the answer lies within the definition of Acom's Razor that goes something like this, "The simplest solution tends to be the correct one." If so, it may be that Howard has a simple case of jealousy over Little Bear's new flashy battery-run bling.
Come to think of it she has developed a bit of a stylin' prance when we let her out in the dark. I never considered Howard because he's as easy to detect as backhoe rumbling around the area.
I'll have a talk with him. If it turns out he's in huff about her innovative tiny safety strobe I'll see what I can do about acquiring a landing light to hang around his neck.
If that doesn't do it, I'm open for suggestions.
Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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