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Paris – a trip

March 8, 2011
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald
MIKE GILCHRIST IN THE TOLEDO CHRONICLE

Last week I presented a short biography of the domestic animals here at Gilly Hollow. Elaine, upon reading the column told me I gave short shrift (actually she doesn’t talk like that; I do) to both Paris and Garth. I guess you can tell which her favorites are. This seems like a good excuse to write another pet column.

So what if it’s only 4:30 in the morning? Animals have no regard for time. The little three legged freak begins scratching. It wouldn’t be too bad except she is lying on the foot of the bed. The scratching causes the bed to wiggle in time to the scratching.

Thump, down on the floor. Dog tags dangling from the collar jangle as the once twenty pound, now forty pound dog hits the floor. Then the pacing begins; first one side of the bed and then the other. She stops near the door and scratches some more. The tags emit an almost musical, no, annoying at this hour sound. More pacing. More scratching.

Another visit to first one side of the bed and then the other. Face closer to her humans to see which one is awake. Stale doggie breath first alarms then offends.

Who is awake? Which one of us will break down and let her out? Today it’s me. After slipping on some pants and shoes, I have to call the dog. She has crawled UNDER the bed this time, probably to sleep some more.

It used to be a simple matter for Paris to wiggle under the bed. Now it is a big production in order to clear the bed frame. She has to get completely on her belly while pulling with a single front leg and pushing with the hind. I’m not sure what comfort dust bunnies offer, but this hideout has long been a favorite for Paris.

But since she’s already awakened me and I’m partially dressed, I insist, “Let’s go!”

First she has to reposition herself so she is pointed head out. Then the doggie crawl is executed again as she extracts herself from her hiding place.

Out the door we go. The first stop is to greet the two outside dogs who are sleeping in the driveway, keeping a watchful eye on the lane and any interlopers. Then the sniffing frenzy begins. Darting quickly from spot to spot as fast as a three legged animal can muster, nose to the ground, she checks simultaneously for familiar and new scents.

The flower plot near the door smells familiar. The grass at the edge of the driveway must be interesting, she stops there briefly.

Farther down the yard she ventures. Stopping at a spot which must conceal a dead animal, possibly a mouse or squirrel the other dogs tortured and killed, she looks over her shoulder to see if I’m watching. I issue a doglike growl. In language she understands, the growl warns her NOT to get on her back and roll around on the dead animal. That which passes as perfume to her reeks of evil to me.

The dog decides she had better move on, and does her duty. Back into the house we go. Up on the bed she hops. Content that she has won a small battle, this time on my side of the bed. Smugly she knows that since I am awake and up, I probably won’t be coming back to bed. She’s right. Back to sleep she goes, content.

I make my way to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. It’s Friday, I have a column to write. I’m going to have a busy day, so it’s probably best I do my writing early. The dog sleeps, as does Elaine. I write.

What will I write about today? Hmmm. How about a day in the life of a pampered little dog. A dog whose life is a journey from sleeping to eating to exploring to sleeping to eating and back once again to sleeping. This should be easy.

Paris was whole when we liberated her from the pound. She is a Vizsla mix, so the staffers at the Humane Society named her Vicky. Nobody knew what her previous human called her. We didn’t think the name fit her well.

My daughter will often answer “Paris” in answer to a question regarding where she has been, or where she is going; quaint, but annoying. While standing in the lobby of the pound pondering a name, I offered Paris. It stuck.

A mean neighbor shot Paris in the leg. She made it back to the house whimpering and in dreadful pain. For just $500 the damaged leg was amputated and she became the mascot of Gilly Hollow; a three legged freak.

She doesn’t seem to mind when I tease her and call her a freak or Tripod. She just appreciates the attention and cocks her head to one side trying to determine if I’m scolding or playing. I like to keep her guessing. Elaine tells me I torment her. We tolerate each other.

You would have to witness it in person to know the sound a three legged dog makes while galloping across hardwood floors. It’s not an even tempo sound like a four legged dog would make. As her toenails click on the floor, it’s double click, single click, double click, single click.

She does quite well usually, but is prone to slip and slide on her chin when that single front leg slides on the floor, especially when she is maneuvering to avoid a human foot, or jockeying for position under the kitchen table to receive table scraps.

When you first see her run outside you’d swear you were watching a wallaby or small kangaroo. She arches her back and sort of hops. It is amusing, but Paris doesn’t seem to miss the fourth leg.

At 7:00 Elaine is up. As soon as her feet hit the floor, the devil shudders and exclaims, “Oh crap, she’s up!” Paris merely takes note and is right behind her.

Dogs pick a favorite human. The choice is predicated on several things, not the least of which is who it is that generally feeds them. Paris has chosen Elaine for obvious reasons. Paris follows her around looking for attention, but more importantly a piece of the crust from her morning toast.

At ten till eight Elaine leaves for work. I am still writing. A click on tools/word count in my word processor lets me know if I have filled my column space yet. I have.

Paris has taken up residence on a recliner near the front windows. She’s sleeping once again. And the cycle of life from the perspective of a dog continues: eat, sleep, play, sleep, sniff, sleep, eat …

Until next time--

You can read past columns by visiting tamatoledonews.com and clicking on the “Local Columns” button at the bottom of the page.

In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2011 Mike Gilchrist. Readers, feel free to contact me at mike@aweiowa.com via email, or write to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342.

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