For the last few weeks, Summer has been very timid about going out into the backyard. She hesitates even getting to the door and then again on crossing the deck as if hoping that she won’t have to go any further out. I gently encourage her to head for the grass before I let her back inside and she makes it a very quick trip. No dilly dallying, no jaunty little walk, strictly business. Off for the briefest of potty breaks and then right back sitting at the door wanting in. Hmm. Definitely odd but not too concerning.
Parker. She always enjoys her ventures into the backyard with such enthusiasm. When she is invited to go outside she runs to the door at top speed, slams on her brakes a few feet away usually rolling up the floor mat up as she slides past it and thumps into the door. All the while, letting out various chirps and squeals in her excitement. I take it that I am much too slow in following through on my invitation. Once the door is open, she bolts across the deck and onto the lawn before Summer can even be coaxed across the room. For the last few weeks, however, her behaviour has been even more enthusiastic than usual. Hmm. Definitely odd but not too concerning.
When they are let back inside, (They have me well-trained) both dogs always sit just inside the door awaiting a treat. Except for today. Today, Summer was the first through the door and I had to call Parker several times before she finally came running. Nothing unusual about that, she is a busy girl and was likely chasing scents, following bugs or butterflies or even digging in the garden or the (ick) compost if I forget to close it off.
The next few things happened in a flurry but every part of it is fresh in my mind. Summer sat, politely waiting for her treat as Parker came running across the lawn, across the deck and through the door. She ran right past Summer, who let out a little squeal, a whimper and a loud moan like the wind had just been knocked out of her before she turned and ran for the sofa. (She never passes up a treat)
Parker continued to run through the living room, down the hall and disappeared out of sight but not before I saw a small stick hanging from her mouth. “The little darling has been rummaging in the compost again.” I thought. But not for long. I followed her into my bedroom where I realized that what appeared to be a small stick was actually a small tail. She sat proudly on my bed, a dead mouse at her feet. I let out a squeal, a whimper and a loud moan like the wind had just been knocked out of me and was tempted to join Summer on the sofa.
Practical thinking prevailed and I used some tissue to pick up the little dead mouse. And that’s when it moved. No, it wasn’t dead but taking its final breath. I was tempted again to squeal and join Summer on the sofa. Instead, I took the poor dead creature outside to the trash, immediately stripped and washed the bedding while strongly cautioned Parker against ever again trying to give me kisses. Never! Not happening.
Summer seems much less stressed about going outside since the whole mouse incident. She doesn’t need any coaxing to go out and seems happy to be playing in the yard. And by playing I mean, she will run once around the perimeter of the yard providing that the grass isn’t wet, it’s not too hot outside and there is no threat of thunder or and heaven forbid, mice! All things that make it difficult for her to maintain her style and grace.
Parker. Well, she has a new routine and I believe she has a secret hope. The first item on her list is to run directly to the place I suspect she captured the mouse. She momentarily stands with her head and tail up looking as triumphant as any great hunter over a fresh kill ever looked. Then, when she finds nothing more there to interest her, she resumes her usual activities. Following bugs, chasing birds or shadows or scents. She is such a busy girl.
As for me, well, while I do feel good knowing that Parker is on patrol, I have also taken some steps and established a new open door policy. From now on, Parker gets oral cavity searches before she is allowed to pass through any open door.