AN OUTING WITH LEEANN

 

Okay, since so many people want to know about my outings with Leeann, let me show you.

Comes 10:15 in the morning several times a week, Eve wraps the red collar around my neck (yes, the one that says STANLEY in big black letters just in case I forget my own name), says Come on, and when I pretend not to hear her she pushes me out the door and into the garage, and after a show of resistance the French would be proud of I jump onto the back seat.

Fool that she is, she opens the back window so that I could push my head out and gawk at the scenery, as though we haven’t done this drive week after week for almost three years. As though I ain’t freezing my kishkes off in this cold winter.

We drive up the hill to Leeann’s house, she opens the back seat and leashes me, otherwise I’ll make a run for Leeann’s chickens or the turkeys by her big garden. Along comes Leeann, whom Eve loves dearly. I’m heading back to the car but they don’t care what I want. Instead, Leeann takes the leash to bring me to her dog park while Eve waves happily and tells the world she’ll be back at 1:30 to pick me up.

And this is where Leeann brings me. I barely get my nose inside when I’m mobbed by hoodlums, all dying to smell each end of me.

Shove off, I tell Minnie the dachshund.

Get out of my face, I tell Daisy Lou the malamute.

Kaya, Queen of the Mountain because she’s Leeann’s dog and likes to stand on a big rock and survey the world, comes through shoving everyone else out of the way, overjoyed to see me as usual. It’s you, she says. How can you tell? I growl right back.

I have no idea why Eve thinks this is a good idea. She says I miss canine company. Do I sound like I miss canine company?

This time there’s a new dog around: Charlie, a young German Shepherd. He shivers nervously when the news goes around and the others crowd around him—Hey, new guy in town! Leeann’s coaxing them away to give him breathing room and even I feel sorry for the guy, so what does he do? How does he reward my empathy? Who does he choose to hang around with? That’s right, moi.

Why? Because he knows that I don’t care about him, I don’t want him, I don’t want to play with him, get him out of here! So I’m the one, of course, he chooses to get friendly with. The others already know my predilection for monkhood—Leave me alone!—but Charlie doesn’t, so I have to do my best to educate him. I growl, I snap, I run out back to take a shit, and I can’t shake him off.

Finally Leeann takes everybody out on one of those long hikes up and down Mt. Toby and half a dozen other hills, always telling me to catch up. It’s a miracle I don’t get a heart attack. To make matters worse, who’s at my side? You guessed it.

Please gift your company to others, I tell him.

I want to be with you, says he.

You’re younger, why don’t you run up ahead?

I want to be with you, says Charlie.

You don’t understand, I’m not playing hard to get, I am hard to get.

Finally we get back to Leeann’s dog park and a line of cars is already waiting to pick us up. All I can say is Eve better be on time. Just one more minute with canine company, one more minute with Charlie, and I’ll roll over, pretend I’m dead. That’ll teach them all.