Heather and I had lots of fun together while Mike was away. She worked at home a lot, with me in my green camp chair next to her in the dining room all day long, guarding the door and trying to figure out when she was speaking to me and when she was just mumbling to herself about work.
One day Heather left early in the morning for an all-day meeting, and I stayed home by myself for a long time. But wouldn’t you know it, my official walker Jill came over to take me out for an hour mid-day, and my pal Charlie did the same when he got home from work. Quite a surprise to get a mid-week visit from Charlie, and I must have looked particularly forlorn, because even renowned “No Treats” Charlie gave me something when he left. And when Heather finally came home after dark, she felt guilty and gave me extra cheese before dinner, so I guess I managed to survive my day-long loneliness by having a day-long buffet.
Heather and I only had to drive out to her office three times. I had to stay in the car because of the office park management’s no-dogs rule; sneaking me into the elevator in a large canvas bag was considered but rejected. It rained a lot while I was trapped inside the car, but each time it happened we also took short walks on the office park’s trails and stopped at Carkeek Park on the way home. I got plenty of exercise, too, since I always do a lot more throwing and chasing with Heather than I do with the creaky ol’ southpaw, Mike.
Still, I got pretty excited when Mike came home, with much tackling and nose-biting to catch up on. And the excitement was just beginning. Just two days later, there was a big fire in one of the historic duplexes being renovated in the park, severely damaging a porch and roof. The first time Mike and I walked by the site, about five hours after 90 city firefighters answered the alarm, small flames were still shooting out.
There was immediate impact on my personal spot, Chloë’s Lane, a couple of hundred yards downwind. Smoke from the fire blanketed the area with the pleasant scent of a roaring hearth. By the next morning, however, overnight rain transformed the site into a sour, doused-campfire smolder that languished for days.
Personally, I hope this unfortunate fire slows the development and re-population of those large houses on the hill. I’ve noticed that since they have been vacant during the transfer and renovation process, the rabbit and squirrel population of the area has increased dramatically. When people and their pets start living in these houses again, the varmint population, and my access to it, will no doubt be greatly diminished. Who knows what territorial challenges lie ahead?