I hate switching over to my winter routine after Daylight Saving Time ends in the fall. It gets dark now by 5, and sunset keeps getting earlier every night for another month. It throws off my system. When I get home after my afternoon walk, it’s barely snack time. If you ask me, 5:15 is much too early for dinner, even if you live in a senior facility.
Getting dark early was part of the problem the day I scooted off to Bunny Central and got caught in a blackberry thicket. This used to happen all the time, of course, but it hadn’t in a long while, although not from lack of desire on my part.
On this particular day Mike and I were barely into the park when I escaped. Mike was busy trying to tie up a poop bag without taking his gloves off and dropped my leash for an instant, and I was gone. Mike walked around and called me for a while, hoping to coax me out with “Treat Party!” but I was caught and not going anywhere even if I wanted to. At first I was just content to lie there and rest without making any noise. Once the rabbits realized I was there, none came close enough to bark at, anyway. But in the rabbit superhighways beneath the blackberry vines, it was already getting dark, so I decided to rethink my position.
While Mike went back to the house to get a flashlight, work gloves and lopping shears, I heard someone else calling me, and I soon recognized the voice of Chris, the nice man who’s always trying to calm down Maggie, his rambunctious golden retriever. When I heard Maggie panting a few feet away on a trail, so I let out a few whimpers to let them know I was close by, my brand-new leash wound around a blackberry stalk as thick as my legs. I was caught pretty good, but by the time Mike got back with the loppers, Chris had freed me. Mike thanked him and Maggie, and I thought maybe he would take us all home and reward us with treats (for the dogs) and beers (for the guys). But no…since a little daylight remained, a disgruntled Mike made me resume our walk into the heart of the park, and he refused to throw the ball or let me off the leash the whole time. What a hard-ass.
Mike’s Cold War with me lasted only a day or two, after which he started being nice to me again. And how can he not, really? One day with no notice he pulled from the closet a huge chunk of rawhide bone and gave it to me, knowing full well I wasn’t going to let go of it until I had devoured the whole thing. I was reluctantly willing to go for a walk with him, but I walked the entire one-hour route through the park with the nub of the rawhide bone in my mouth, refusing all offers of treats (!) and water, finding it impossible to play fetch and declining to acknowledge any dog we met along the way, even the ones I normally like. Finally, a half hour or more after we got home from the park, I came into the kitchen and took a long, long drink of water. As the classic Alka-Seltzer commercial goes, I can’t believe I ate the whole thing. On second thought, I can believe it. I’m a dachshund.
Mike also splurged at the Dollar Tree and bought me a new water dish that has replaced (for now) the blue ceramic water bowl I had used all my life. That blue bowl is the companion to my food dish, both original pieces made by Heather’s sister Robin and previously used by my predecessor, the late, lamented Heidi, making them true family heirlooms. While the message inside my new bowl (“Play Ball!”) certainly reflects my personality, my artistic sense says it lacks the symmetry and panache its predecessor provides. But to appease Mike, I have decided to try the new bowl for a while, and we’ll see if it wets my whistle in the manner to which I have become accustomed.