UBC Day 2, 20171002 They’re Coming to Take Me Away

I’ve been petless for a while, now. Housing disruptions, health challenges. When my last furry friend (Sparse, my second Maine coon) left this world for eternal bliss, I decided to wait before becoming a “mom” again.

About six months ago, I had a chance to assist in caring for a couple of Chihuahuas, and even though “ankle biters” aren’t my pet of choice, I was happy to be around even these diminutive guys.

The Chihuahuas, Martin and Lewis, are about 9 years old, and they’re brothers.

Lewis wannabeeLewis is a long, thin, sharp-snouted beast, like this one.


Martin is compact and muscular, similar to this guy.Martin wannabeeThey sensed, despite my hugs and pets and endless treats, that they are never going to grab my heart the way a big dog can. But I did my best to build up their bite-sized egos, to feign terror at the slightest flash of their teeny-tiny teeth, to cower and hug the wall as they rushed by on their way for a walk. But despite my best efforts, they snubbed me.

Nay, not so. They snubbed me, until their shifty little brains developed a plot. And then they worked to win me over.

One day, I was the bothersome Treat Lady. The next, I was their New Best Friend. To my eternal embarrassment, I wasn’t the least bit suspicious.

Lewis isn’t a kisser, but he likes to be cradled in the crook of an arm. He’s so cute.

Martin doesn’t like to be held, but he will go to great lengths to slobber me with kisses while he’s trying to get away.

All this faux affection worked. I began to feel real warmth for the guys. When I grabbed their leashes to take them for a walk, I actually enjoyed putting on their little harnesses and steeling myself for the uncomfortable experience. I was bonding, for heaven’s sake!

We set out together. I’m wobbly, and they’re frisky and quick, so there was a lot of “Wait a minute!” mumbled as they strained to find the right place to … you know. Then there was the groan and bend to pick up the … you know.

After about a week, I saw that Martin and Lewis spent a lot of time looking back at me. And one day, they seemed to sense when I was at my most unbalanced, because just as I extended my reach to pick up after them, Martin and Lewis decided to test my grasp of their leashes.

By the grace of God and a lot of arm waving and hip swiveling, I stood my ground.

Martin and Lewis shared a look that can only be described as “fiendish.” One went left. One went right. They wrapped their leashes around my legs and took off, their short little legs going a mile a minute.

Unprepared, I toppled over and landed on the hip that hurts most. I held fast to the leashes, though, because I knew I’d never catch two frisky Chihuahuas if they ever got loose.

I swore fiercely under my breath. I recalled the YouTube video that I’d seen, teaching wobbly folks like me how to get up from the ground. Right leg over left. Groan and roll to the left side, quick (I use the term loosely) flip to get both knees on the ground. Hands on the ground. PUSH up to a runner’s starter position, and walk my hands in till I could balance and stand. Took me half an hour, with Martin and Lewis doing their best to snatch the leashes from my now-cramping hands.

The only good thing is that I live in Florida, and it was high noon. The little schemers hadn’t counted on being outside in the hot sun so long. They wore out faster than I, being so small. By the time I could get them back into the air conditioning, they realized that hurting me meant near death from the heat. They barely made it up the ramp to the air conditioning without collapsing. Hah! That should teach them!

Should have, but didn’t. I now know that their diabolical plotting knows no ends.

I wasn’t concerned when I saw Martin kicking up the grass behind him after he did his business. Dogs do that! But over time, I noticed that he seemed to be tearing up the grass in a surprisingly straight line. Lewis, who could barely be counted on to lift a leg, much less tear up the grass, always positioned himself a few feet from the end of the line, almost like a point of reference. What the …?

I soon found out. When I lifted these two comedians up onto the bed to share a nap, I began to notice a ritual of sorts. Lewis would walk slowly from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, make a right turn, pace off the width of my body, then yip at his brother. Martin would do the same, almost like he was double-checking Lewis’s measurements.

Within weeks, Martin had kicked up a rectangular space in the grass that looked suspiciously like it was designed for me. Lewis suddenly got interested in digging holes in the ground, inside that rectangle!

I’m lucky They’re small and I’m not. I can take the heat and they can’t. But some day, they’ll finish my shallow grave, and with one quick lunge they can topple my unsteady self into it. Fortunately, it’ll take them a couple of weeks to kick enough dirt back in to cover me.

So if I suddenly stop posting, please: send the cops!





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About Billie Noakes

The writer you want for crisp, clean copy.
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15 Responses to UBC Day 2, 20171002 They’re Coming to Take Me Away

  1. Haha this really made me laugh although I hope you’re ok after your tumble. I really miss having a pet but like you I prefer a bigger dog

  2. I’m fine, Janet. Thanks! Yeah, big dogs rule. These days, I can handle a cat, but unless I go for a service dog, I think my canine days are over. Still, there are animal shelters that need volunteers, so maybe I can get my “fix” there!

  3. Alana says:

    Oh, no! When I took a falls prevention class a couple of years ago, we were all asked to tell a story about one of our falls. Too many of them involved dogs – either tripping over them or falling while walking them. BUT NONE WERE THIS ENTERTAINING! Your grave, indeed. Do you have these experiences just to be able to write about them? I’m glad to know you are “fine”, and that those You Tube videos really work.

  4. Alana, I’d be lyin’ if I said I wasn’t already thinking of how to tell the tales when these things happen. But no, I don’t start out setting ’em up! I just hope they don’t succeed in their nefarious plots, cuz they’ll miss me if/when I’m gone!

  5. Alice Gerard says:

    Oh my! Your writing is hilarious! I am sorry that you toppled over. That must have been ouchy. But your description was so funny. It seems that, somehow, the little dogs have snuck into your heart.

  6. Bill Horton says:

    I see that you’re discovering what I’ve known for years. It’s a conspiracy I tell you. My oldest, Tina is about my age lulls me into a false sense of confidence as does Doki. So I have two peaceful dogs eager to walk but not so eager to dash off in different directions. Then there’s Rudi, able to leap tall bushes in a single bound with two speeds stop and omg. We’re quite a sight going down the street, one wants to take a nap, another is investigating the local scenery and the other is SQUIRREL! There are a lot of squirrels in this neighborhood.
    I’ll write more when i’m out of traction.

  7. That they did Alice!

  8. Preeti says:

    I laughed so hard through this post! What a fun read!!

  9. Tracy says:

    Precious! I’m not exactly a pet-lover, but your post almost makes me think I could tolerate a dog or two. Thanks for the chuckle!

  10. Jeanine says:

    This post is hilarious!! LOL @ “hip swiveling” and “the shallow plot.” Hope they soon realize who’s boss. 🙂

  11. Loved it, it was great, the thought of them plotting and scheming 🙂

  12. I needed that bit of humor. But this explains why I’m a cat person. I’m just not comfortable with dogs. The big ones want to knock me over and the little ones try to trip me.

  13. Barbara, you might consider something like a Welsh Corgi or a beagle. My sister found a corgi/beagle mix by the side of the road about ten years ago, and Queenie was one of the sweetest dogs you could find. Between being stout and short-legged, she couldn’t do much damage unless you fell over her! And she would try really hard not to be in the way. The most she’d do as far as aggravation was cuddle up and just be too warm after a while!

  14. Oh, they do. I can tell when I look into their little, conniving eyes … 🙂

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