What a summer this has been, with our much-expanded pack and new routines. Everything seems to run on a different schedule, even now that the pups go back to the Hopewell pup kennel in the autumn mornings.
All three of our pack’s young one’s – The Pup, Sporty, and Sunshine – hang out in a different location each morning. Younger humanoids continue to gather behind the big building with the asphalt playground. But across the street, our young pack play at some place they call “the grass yard.” I think the name is more out of aspiration than description.
And since the young ones are old enough to congregate in the alleged grass yard, it seems that we are no longer required to accompany them in the mornings. Perhaps they are now old enough that they do not need stalwart dogs to save them from Bank Street traffic and the aberrant beasts of the Belmont Avenue cat corridor.
So instead, Alpha takes Lily and yours truly to Windsor Park some mornings. It’s all very pleasant. Think of it as my retirement from the heavy responsibilities of the morning walk to school.
In fact, it gives us an opportunity to get to know some of the newer dogs of the neighbourhood. Windsor Avenue is especially interesting with the scents of new arrivals –a King Charles Cavalier named Rupert and a Chihuahua named Kwacha.
Lily insists on frolicking about with these much younger and smaller dogs. They have pointy puppy teeth. I warn Lily to beware once Kwacha has gotcha.
But Lily tends to dismiss my advice as somewhat curmudgeony, coming from a dog who would frolic myself if my joints would move more quickly. And she may be right. After his knee operation last summer, Alpha has been the only animal in the park who moves more slowly than I do these days.
I have reached that age when I like nothing better than to sit in my bed beneath the kitchen counter and watch the world go by. The highlight of the day is when the postal worker slips envelopes through the slot, and I rouse myself to run to the door, and leap up to gnash the letters as they come through.
Alpha does not seem to appreciate the tooth marks in his mail. I think he should respect it as an added measure of security in these troubled times. A toothmark in a letter means that it has passed inspection.
And in addition to new routines and newcomers, the season has been remarkably disruptive. For several days, things fell apart, the centre could not hold, and mere anarchy was loosed upon the world. The inner sanctums itself was disrupted when I was unceremoniously turfed out of my bed, which was piled in the living room with every other stick of furniture from the kitchen, sun room and dining room.
And why? So humanoids could destroy the hard work of many years on our hardwood. After all our scratching and scraping with our sharp doggie nails, we had finally reached the stage where the floors in this home looked and smelled very natural. We had removed the uncomely sheen.
But all our effort can be overturned in a matter of a week. What a week it was. Furniture removed and stored away. A very noisy machine sanding the floors. Dust everywhere – even beyond the plastic barriers erected in the doorways. Layers of smelly gloop slathered over the newly sanded wood. And a high degree of frustration when the gloop didn’t harden the right way and the humanoids had to begin all over again.
Lily and I witnessed part of this from the back porch. We weren’t allowed into the house all that day. And at night, with much anguish lest we let a paw down on wet floors, we were quickly hustled over a plank into the basement where we spent the night. The indignity! And then Alpha shipped us off to summer camp for a few days, so we did not have to witness the final stages of destruction as our work of the past many years was sanded away and varnished over.
We’ll have to begin again, I know. But the floors are now covered with drop cloths and carpets and Alpha tells The Mom that it will take a few days left for the floors to “cure.” In the meantime, he keeps cutting our nails. But I can wait. I shall return.
Down but never discouraged,
Many of Zoscha’s readers have observed that she often sprinkles her prose with various quotes, parodies and allusions. If you can identify a reference, send your contest entry to email@example.com, using “Zoscha’s contest” in your title line. Or drop a note off at the Firehall.
For last month’s column, the virtual pat on the head and doggie biscuit goes to Arthur French, who correctly identified riffs from William Blake’s “The Tyger” – “fearful symmetry” and “burning bright in the shadows of the night.” Also, a “nice doggie” to our eagle-eyed editor, Mary Anne Thompson, who also identified “red in tooth and claw” from Tennyson’s “In Memorium.”