Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Neither of us meant to step on a squirrel

A couple of weeks ago we went to the Brimfield Antique Show. For those of you that read this blog, you might remember it as the place where I found the taxidermied deer ass. It was mid July in MA and around 95 degrees.  We parked the car in the lot that we always park in, and even found a spot in the shade.  Upon getting out of the car, we were bombarded by thousands of moths.  I've never seen that many moths at one time in my entire life.  It seemed at if the entire town was over run by a biblical plague of moths.  I was hysterical and I couldn't stop laughing.  As we were walking Pone pointed out a man with an enormous gunt.  I had my mouth open because I was laughing, and I almost inhaled a moth.  It was so hot, and I was trying so hard to focus on not swallowing a bug, that I stepped on a dead squirrel.

Our dog Jonesi, has also stepped on a squirrel.  Only, the one he stepped on wasn't dead.  Maybe I should start over.  You know how people say that dog's take on their owner's personalities?  Well Jonesi is the dog version of me.  A 7 1/2 year old, male, yellow lab/hound version of me. We're both clumsy, socially awkward, sudden, loud, anxious, goofy and always hungry.

I'm clumsy.  I have a habit of hitting my head.  At least twice a day I hit my head and so does Jonesi.  I almost never fall down the stairs, but I've fallen up the stairs plenty of times, as has Jonesi.  When Jonesi was a puppy, we took him to Puppy Training Class.  On the last night, they made us try some agility type jumps.  First I tripped, then Jonesi tripped, and then the trainer tripped.  All Pone could do was turn to the guy sitting next to him, point at us and comment "yep, those are mine."

Jonesi and I both have issues meeting new people and feeling comfortable around them.  We are awkward as fuck and neither of us are any good at making friends especially on the first try.  I never know what to say, and Jonesi just hides and barks.  It usually takes us each a few tries before we get it right, and become comfortable enough with someone new.

We are both quite startling if you don't know us. If we get up out of bed, get off the couch, or make any sort of movement, it's always done abruptly.  Last month, I was staying in a hotel, and I wasn't used to the layout.  I hopped out of bed to go to the bathroom and smacked my head on the wall.  I've done that at home too.  But instead of hitting the wall, I leapt out of bed and hit my head on the door or the door frame.  Jonesi can't get up, without being sudden either.  If he has an itch, he has to jump up, take about 5 steps and sit back down in order to scratch his itch.   I always yell things from another room because I have no idea where Pone is in the house and usually he's right behind me.   I have this habit of saying "WHAT?!?" at a volume that I think is reasonable.  However, everyone else seems to think it's too loud and completely abrupt.  Jonesi likes to bark at noises outside when he is in very close range to you.  It's gotten to the point that Pone yells at us both for being "too loud and too sudden."

I get a lot of anxiety from change, and Jonesi is the same way.  For instance, if we are on a walk and a car on the street is parked out of place, it ruins his day.  Last year we got new couches for the living room and Pone wanted a different living room set up than the one we had.  It took us both awhile to get used to it.  We also don't do well in crowds.  The typical Jonesi pose is the tail between the legs and ears tightly back, while pulling on the leash. A few years ago Pone and I went to New Orleans for Halloween, I got freaked out in a crowd of people and tried to escape and ran right into a goddamn parade.  The tail in my heart was between my legs.

As for the goofiness, whether intentional or unintentional, we both have a predisposition to it.  Like when I stopped to look at a gunt, while trying not to inhale a moth, I inadvertently stepped on a dead squirrel. One day Jonesi was casually walking around the yard, following a butterfly and stepped in a pile of dog shit.  It was just like that scene with Steve Martin in The Jerk.

Which brings us back to the day that Jonesi stepped on a squirrel. The reason Jonesi stepped on a squirrel is really because he and I are always hungry.  One evening Pone was outside grilling and I was inside in the kitchen, setting the table.   Through the open window, Pone let me know that kebabs were almost done and he asked "are you ready to eat?"  Jonesi was outside with Pone, and assumed that Pone was talking to him.  Jonesi being Jonesi, was of course ready to eat, and made a dash for the back door.  In his haste, he neglected to notice a squirrel that had it's back to him.  One would think that the detection of predators was a heightened sense in a small critter like a squirrel, but alas it was not.  In making a beeline for the door Jonesi stepped right on the startled squirrel.  Once again we are startling, clumsy, goofy and always hungry.

This however, was not the only time he's had a run in with a squirrel that failed to notice him.  Last fall I was taking the dogs on an afternoon walk.  As we approached our house at the end of the walk, I noticed a squirrel digging up the lawn in an attempt to bury an acorn.  Thinking it would be amusing to both the dogs and a good way to stop the squirrel from digging, I started walking on the lawn up to where the squirrel was positioned.  At 10 feet away, neither the squirrel nor the dogs noticed each other.  At 5 feet away, neither the dogs or the squirrel reacted.  Finally, we were standing right behind  the squirrel who was clearly so engrossed in his digging that he couldn't bothered.  Jonesi approached the squirrel, didn't try any classic retriever moves, or even tried to harm it.  What did Jonesi do?  Jonesi went up, stuck his nose under its tail, and sniffed the ass of the squirrel.  I've never seen a squirrel look so startled and violated in all of my life.  Jonesi, on the other hand just looked back at me, wagged and started walking back towards the house.

That's my boy.

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