“OK, Harry and Aussie, who took the tree down? I want to know which one of you did this?”

On recent Friday mornings I chauffeur a young illegal migrant mother to various appointments. Today I came home and found that an enormous tree, consisting of three big limbs each of which could be a tree of its own, had crashed down in the back, taking down power lines, cable lines, and the dog fence.

There was no electricity and the dogs were nowhere to be found. They weren’t under the fallen giant, nor had they been electrocuted by the live wires.

As usual, Harry was the first to return, tongue hanging out, and made a beeline to the water bowl. Aussie sauntered back hours later, when the electrician was finishing restoring power.

People say over and over that this country is no good. Fallen wires and no power (which in our case means no water as well) are no fun, and the company had someone here within the hour, and power was restored within two. I don’t take that for granted.

The live cable wires will be fixed tomorrow. Meantime, dogs aren’t going anywhere in back.

In human terms, Harry’s about 8 and Aussie’s 12. I’ve adopted a kid and an adolescent; no wonder I’m so tired. What was I thinking of?

Last year at this time I lived with two old, sick guys named Stanley (a canine) and Bernie (human). Bernie after the stroke had a hard time getting around and needed lots of help. Stanley maintained his good spirits even while blind and deaf, but at times I looked around me and wailed: Is there anybody young here? I need some youth around me!

Right now I look at both dogs and say: “I need somebody to grow up—quick! Harry, would you stop barking so much?”

“I’m so excited to be alive, yipeee!”

“And would you stop jumping on me?”

“I’m too excited, I can’t stand still.”

I could use a couple of old fellas for balance.

If Harry is deeply loyal to me at home, he clearly sees Aussie as his guide outdoors. For a while there he was scared of the plank bridge in the woods and positively bawled after us when we crossed. When he finally crossed, it was to follow Aussie. And when she went into the water for the first time he whined and whined, then followed. And yesterday when she went into deeper water, he whimpered in resistance, and then followed.

As you can see in the photo below, they’re taking a water route to run away from home.