In ancient Greece the constellation, Sirius, represented the dog. It was believed that when this dog constellation was closest to the earth (July and August) that milk would spoil, men would be become weak, plants would wilt and women would become aroused. I’d seriously have to question that last one. Incidentally, this is what we refer to as the “dog days of summer”.
While we are still a few months away from the “dog days of summer”, I couldn’t help but wonder over this past weekend if this dog constellation, Sirius, had some strange cosmic effect over a certain canine in my household, not unlike how those that believe in horoscopes are affected by the stars and the alignment of planets.
Friday after work I decided to take my bike out for an evening spin before hitting the hay. I changed into the usual garb; t-shirt, shorts, sneakers. Abby decided that she had to come with me. This was just not going to happen. I am lucky I can chew gum at the same time as walking, let alone ride a bike while holding onto a leash. Uh-uh. Nothing doing.
My usually pleasant pooch was not having any part of this. I was trying to get the bike out of the house where it had been parked in the living room (one of the joys of living alone –you can park your bike wherever you please) and she was bolting for the door like the place was on fire. I caught her with my leg and pinned her against the wall where she struggled to get away from me and into the freedom of the front yard.
Somehow I got the kickstand on the bike down without her sneaking by me. To enhance the mental image of this evening, I have sketched the following cartoon:
After literally wrestling with her, I somehow made it out of the house. I could hear her now in the backyard where she ran out her doggie door and was howling her disapproval. The neighborhood dogs all seem to howl back in agreement which made for the ultimate guilt trip. I made my way down to the canals quite frazzled after that display. Not sure what got into her but she was hell-bent on getting out that front door. After one glorious hour pedaling away in peace, I returned home. The neighbors were in for the night and all was quiet. What the heck, I thought. I’ll let Abby out for a few minutes of freedom. I opened the door and before I could get a word out, she flew by me, all 4 paws disappearing into a blur. I may have seen a few sparks fly out from behind her as well. She bolted down to the greenway. Meanwhile, I parked my bike back in the living room and went out to wait for Abby’s return. She usually runs down to the greenway and returns after a few minutes, having gotten the run out of her system.
Up until her return I had been standing in the walkway in front of the house. I was happily updating my Facebook status via phone when I heard the unmistakable sounds of dog nails on asphalt. Abby spotted something and was in a dead run towards it. Turns out my neighbors thought this would be the opportune time to also let their dogs out for a leashless run. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the other dog, a good thirty pounds heavier than Abby, is her all time nemesis. Suddenly my sweet little puppy with the seal pup eyes had turned into this snarling, vicious, hound of hell. I dropped my phone (suddenly posting about what a great bike ride I had had seemed severely irrelevant) and headed towards the commotion. My usually mild-mannered neighbor was screaming over the snarling already in progress.
Both dogs had each other down on the ground. I reached for Abby who slipped out of my grasp like a greased pig. all the while my neighbor is yelling, “Get your f’ing dog! Get her!!!” No, not yelling. She was screeching. It was complete pandemonium. Neither dog was backing down. Said neighbor’s husband is now using his foot to try to separate the dogs. Nothing doing. Neighbor and I are encircling the dogs like referees at a boxing match. Finally, neighbor’s dog runs into the house. This is the end of it, I’m thinking. No! Abby follows the dog into the neighbor’s house. Neighbor is now screeching again like a banshee. “Get her out of my house! Get that f*ing dog out!” Finally Abby cowers on the floor. She must’ve come to her senses and realized that hey, this isn’t my house. What am I doing here??? Now her ears were pinned back and she looked truly defeated. I scooped her up and headed out towards home, but not before mumbling an apology to neighbor and her husband. Nothing was said in return. The only sound is that of their door slamming.
As soon as I set Abby down inside the house, she ran towards her bed. I glared at her which resulted in more pitiful looks and the pinning back of one’s ears. Then she grabbed what was left of an old rawhide bone and headed out to the safety of the backyard through the doggie door.
I took a deep breath, still shaking after that incident, and headed back over to neighbor’s house. I rang the doorbell with my heart beating in my throat. Neighbor came out and I asked if her dog was okay. Luckily the dog was. This is how I found out Abby and her dog were arch-rivals. Something the ex never let me in on. She apologized to me for how she acted and then hugged me. It was a relief.
Before heading off to a well-deserved rest that night I texted the ex that he may have a new visitor in that frozen waste-land he now calls home. Either that or she would be shipped off to a country where dog meat is still seen as a delicacy.
On Saturday afternoon, while out and about, the ex texted me that he has something for me (paperwork for a quickie Mexican divorce perhaps? -No, one couldn’t be so fortunate). After reviewing my texts of woe, he had decided to sign me up for a subscription to Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer’s magazine, Cesar’s Way. At first I thought he was joking. No, this was no joke. I got the email to prove it the next day. Why not something I would actually read like, Women’s Running or Real Simple, or Is Your Ex Really That Clueless?
Oh, I am just waiting with bated breath for my first issue! Believe you me!
Abby seem to know she had done wrong. She sulked about the house for the rest of the weekend and didn’t give me a hard time again when leaving. I suppose dogs, like people, have their days. About 1am today I woke to the sounds of her nails on the tile as she entered the bedroom. Usually she doesn’t stray too far from her dog bed at night but last night was different. It actually sounded like she was tiptoeing in as not to wake me or the weasel. She leapt up on the bed, licked my shoulder and nestled down next to me in the crook of my knees. A rare event in the Monsoon household.
Perhaps even Orion suffered through a few dog days with Sirius.
“Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky
On summer nights, star of stars,
Orion’s Dog they call it, brightest
Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat
And fevers to suffering humanity.”
-Homer in The Illiad