76. When Dogs can't stay out of Trouble

Dear Tera,

On the warm nights, Alpha takes us out at many a different hour.  There always seems to be something going on – either on Bank Street or in Windsor Park.  You never know when you might run into friends.  Or run into trouble, for that matter.

One night, a large gathering of humanoids assembled by the river near the tennis courts.  Much excitement, and many trucks with flashing red and blue lights.

I love the flashing lights.  Makes me feel like a pup again, when I used to chase the flashlight beams across the grass.  But for all the festive atmosphere, apparently there was danger, and a little dog as a hero.

While taking its alpha for a late night walk, this dog heard strange sounds coming from the river.  He investigated, and then insisted that his alpha have a look as well.

What they discovered was a man stuck in the mud about five yards out into the water.  By the time they found him, the man was struggling on his hands and knees, keeping his head out of the water, but nearing the point of exhaustion.

I don’t know whether your humanoids let you wade into the river, but I can tell you that the mud can be treacherous, even for bigger dogs, let alone humanoids.  Not even the combined strength of the alpha and a couple of passing students were able to help pull this man out of the muck. 

Within a few minutes, however, the 911 rescue crews arrived.  The firemen pulled the man out of the water and spirited him away in one of those vehicles with the flashing lights. The little dog, of course, supervised the rescue operation. 

Congratulations all around: to the man who was walking the dog; to the young students; and to the passer-by who had a cell phone to call 911.  But the biggest praise, of course, should go to the dog who insisted on investigating the strange sounds in the water.

Through all of this excitement, I was perfectly content to watch the proceedings alongside Alpha, but Lily wanted to go down into the water herself.  My step-sister is quite slow to learn her lessons sometimes.  She gets herself into trouble wading into the mud, or rolling in things Alpha doesn’t want her to roll in, or getting carried away with her exuberance.

She has avoided further altercations with the little white dogs that are her nemesis, but Alpha keeps her on a pretty tight leash at the times when these dogs are most likely to come to the park. 

In fact, we’ve all been hearing quite a bit about these dogs since my last article.  Humanoids and dogs who know them much better than I do tell me that they are really quite charming, and that I’ve been mean-spirited. That may well be. 

I was wrong to say that these dogs were being treated as cats.  We hold these truths to be self-evident that all dogs are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the freedom to run in Windsor Park.

Perhaps someday when Lily is not with us, we’ll have a chance to get to know one another better.

Meanwhile, the chip that Lily carries on her whither continues to provoke problems.  Out at the cottage, the ramifications can be quite painful, she’s found. 

I could have told her, but she doesn’t listen to me.  I have taught her to stalk minnows in the shallow waters of the lake, and we know that the minnows will not strike back. 

But I could also tell her, from my own experience, to stay away from the porcupines. 

Well, one night she decided she knew better.  Maybe she thought she should secure the cottage perimeter against a bushy stranger.  Maybe she just wanted to play, but I myself have found that porcupines aren’t very amicable playmates.  After Alpha removed a dozen quills from her snout, I think she has learned the lesson. 

An older, wiser and for many a year now, a quill-free dog,