This final Sunday of a marvelous chukar season finds us all, for the first time this season, called to something other than hunting. Leslie and I, forced to take a sick weekend, are watching the growing covey of quail scarf corn while the dogs get an unprecedented seventh straight day of no exercise. These diluvial days seem not to have had a beginning nor can I, right now, imagine their end (especially given the forecast).
But with dogs, it can’t ever be all doom and gloom, no matter how determined the effort. Peat, despite — and, more likely because of — his characteristic pent-up-edness, entertains us at irregular intervals throughout the day and night, improvising doggy stand-up: stealing bras and getting tangled in them while trying to break their necks, nose-diving momentarily un-minded cupboards for Tupperware, getting the Cong stuck on his lower teeth while trying to keep us from picking up what he can’t quite drop, giving himself a massage by rolling ecstatically on the floor over his Nyla-bone and elk antler chews, growling maniacally all the while. It’s the Call of the Child-we-never-had. And Angus, obliviously enjoying the retirement of his hearing, seems simply to alternate between a textbook demonstration of contentment and manic hunger. We’ve been relieved these past couple of months that the only symptom of his cancer is the blood dripping sporadically from his penis.
Most people who’ve been touched by dogs like to tell stories about what it’s like. I like to hear theirs. Billy Collins has two poems I want to share. Enjoy.