“I’m not sharing my beans.” “Is your butt itching again?” “Who brought in the snake?” These are just a few things I’ve caught myself saying to the dogs today and they don’t answer back. The cats and I don’t talk much, they pretty much do their own thing and the most I say to Mow-Mow is “Get in or get out.” and Mia won’t leave our bedroom so our main interaction is when I am in here writing and she wants up on the desk. There’s no room for her on the desk and I tell her so repeatedly.
It is nice Monday morning, a little cool, but the sun is out and immediately the dogs want outside so I leave the back door open and enjoy the fresh air while I clean. Soon I hear the dogs barking - Mike, the pool guy is early, so I rush outside and corral all of them back in the house. This, of course, coincides with freshly mopped floors. Most of them eagerly come inside when they are called, not because of any training, but because they always think there’s a possibility of a treat. Today, however, Bella and Maggie have decided that Mike, who comes every Monday, is surely a mass murder and must be dealt with and they run to the other side of the yard, far from me, and await my judgment. Lovely. By this time the dogs in the house have realized that the treats are not forthcoming, so why stay inside? I push them all back with my feet as I try to slip out the back door to retrieve the other two, muzzles of every size trying to slip out with me, but I’m not having it and I shut the door in their faces.
Bella is barking at Mike and I’m trying to herd her back towards the porch and into the house, but she runs this way and that, nimble on three legs, but I finally get her on the porch, open the door just enough, and shove her inside. Luckily the ones in the house are so enamored of her rebellion that they are too busy congratulating her to try to get out. I turn around and Maggie makes a run for it across the muddy yard, but at least she’s not barking at Mike, saving me that small embarrassment. Maggie is a coward at heart and when I catch up to her, I must peal her off the ground because she has gone boneless in defeat. As I stumble across the yard with a 50 pound limp pit-bull hugged to my chest, legs sticking out and tail dragging the ground, I see that Mike has brought his wife with him and is yelling out an introduction to me. I’m out of breath, but I wave a few fingers of “hello” in their direction.
Finally, everyone is inside, not happy, but inside…. and then I see the snake. This snake has been dead awhile, it’s been rolled flat and it’s brittle and dry and no one’s claiming it, but when I go to pick it up, suddenly the nasty thing belongs to everyone. I hold the dead snake over my head as I make my way through the crowd of fur and jumping bodies to carry it outside and I throw it in the front yard because if goes in the backyard it will end up in the house again and I’ll find it buried in a blanket on the couch.
Gary has come home for lunch, but he has missed both the backyard revolt and the desiccated snake, which is unfortunate. We eat something simple, he grabs a bowl of cereal and I heat up some pinto beans from last night, and the dogs circle like sharks, their action triggered by the sound of the microwave countdown. I’m not sharing my pinto beans with seven dogs. There are not enough air purifiers in the world to undo that mistake. While I’m eating I notice that Peaches, our old girl, is not among the beggars and, suspicious, I go to look for her.
Sure enough, she is drag racing her butt across my living room rug. “Is your butt itching again?” I ask and she pauses in full drag position and cocks her head at me, and then silently carries on while I go find the itchy butt cream. She has sensitive skin and for some reason she gets a rash occasionally and we have to treat it with a special cream and pills, but it takes a few hours for it to take effect so the drag racing goes on, much to the delight of Lady Bug who chases behind her.
They are quiet now, except for the dachshund nose poking under my door, and I believe I hear someone trying to drag a palm branch in the house, but most of them are napping and regardless of the ridiculousness of it all, I love it, the dogs make me laugh at myself, but they can make me crazy, too. After a day of one-sided conversations sometimes I long to have co-workers again, to discuss the news, the weather and gossip, anything where someone talks back – not one time in all our years of working did I ever have to ask Michele if her butt itched, but if I had, I am confident she would have answered me back.
Soon enough, I remember the stress, the long hours, the sometimes not so nice responses and negative attitudes, and I’m so glad to be at home with these crazy dogs, waiting for Gary to get home from work so we can sit on the couch and watch TV together. Who knows, we might find another dried reptile in the blanket. Life is full of surprises like that.