60 degrees today, and the backyard is filled with melting snow and mud and, well, dog excrement. It’s disgusting. On days like this, one actually has to actually (gasp) walk the furry ball of kinetic energy or risk total destruction of one’s home.
You’d think the lack of the front right long might slow even an Australian Shepherd down, but alas, when she’s running, you can’t even tell she’s missing a limb. Case in point: the other week Daniel let Kiah out the front door. She took off like a bat out of hell, and within seconds, was completely out of sight. I thought that was it. She was gone. It was over.
“She’s gone,” I told John.
“Well, that’s it then. It’s over.”
We're a worst-case scenario kind of a couple.
The kids sobbed and moaned. We all piled into the van and drove slowly around the neighborhood calling her name and waving beef jerky in the air. Ten minutes later, we pulled into our driveway and found Kiah sitting in the middle of it, staring at us imploringly: Why did you guys leave? How could you do that? How was I supposed to get into the house? You know I can’t live without my toilet water and the kids’ favorite stuffed animals.
The thing with having a three-legged dog is, every time you venture out in public with her, someone assumes you adopted her three-legged furry self from a shelter.
“Wow. Good for you,” they say before you can explain. “More people should adopt special-needs dogs.”
And I pause.
“Yes, well, we just couldn’t resist her,” I say. And for a brief moment, I feel really proud of myself for rescuing a special-needs dog.
Except I didn’t. But explaining the whole convoluted story of how we lost Kiah, thought her for dead, and then got her back minus a leg is exhausting. And retelling it makes me feel like a truly rotten dog owner, though I know in my heart the story of how her leg came to be no more is nobody’s fault.
The kids opened the van door and Kiah hopped into it, ready for a road trip. There was great rejoicing in the land. Then we put her safely back into the house and debated whether or not to give her the beef jerky, because we didn’t want to reward her running-away behavior. That is exactly the kind of behavior the dog obedience class was supposed to get rid of.
I want my money back.
Today, I don't feel like dragging the kids out for a walk so I put her into the backyard to go to the bathroom, and she curls up in a puddle of mud, sticks her nose in it, perks up because she hears something in the distance, and runs frantically to the fence and begins barking like a maniac. When she runs, she is fluid, beautiful, a soft streak of black and white fur. The mud flies off of her like rain.
I’ve never wanted it to snow so bad.