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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Daffodils and Dogs.

i noted a few days ago that, much to my surprise, some of last year's tulipa saxatilis were sprouting. (i was surprised not so much that they had returned, but that they were sprouting in late november / early december.)

when i stepped out on the front porch to get the mail yesterday, i was again surprised. this time by evidence that the erlicheer narcissus were sprouting. it was raining, so i didn't rumage through the fallen leaves to see how many sprouts there were, but i could see three poking through the leaves.

n.b., i titled this post "daffodils and dogs" because i like the alliteration, but in the post i refer to the erlicheers as narcissus. lest anyone be confused, daffodil is the common name for narcissus. the american daffodil society explains the daffodil / narcissus quandary succinctly.

when i went out to get the newspaper this morning, i stopped to push back the leaves and look for additional sprouts. i had planted five bulbs last november.

as i was kneeling at the edge of the porch, digging through leaves, i glimpsed a brown and white shape zipping past me. i think to myself, "oops, cat out the door . . . cat out the door means door is open . . . dogs were standing at the door when i went out." as all this flashes through my head, the dogs push past me, before i'm aware enough to grab their collars.

now there is one cat heading for the neighbor's backyard, and two dogs heading who knows where. two greyhounds. they can disappear in a flash if i turn my back on them for even an instant, but i know i have no chance of catching them before the cat slips into the fenced backyard. so i run after the cat first, simultaneously calling the dogs and watching over my shoulder to see which direction they go.

once upon a time, tex was a very timid dog and on the few occasions that he and major escaped he wouldn't venture beyond the end of our driveway. major, on the other hand, has no fear of the wide world that exists beyond her backyard. today, for the first time ever, tex decided to tail major down the street. at least they stayed together. he even looked back at me with a look of glee in his eyes.

back to the chase. i caught up to the cat as she was heading up the neighbor's drive, clamped her under my arm and briefly considered whether there was any way for me to pursue the dogs, hang on to their collars and drag all three animals back together. i decided against this plan since the chances of the cat lacerating my stomach and escaping were very high.

so i ran back to the front door, threw the cat in, and wenr after the dogs. luckily, they were more focused on exploring the other yards on our block than doing a sprint through the neighborhood. with major in the lead, they headed through three yards on the other side of the street until major was distracted by something on the ground (probably another dog's poop), stopped and marked the spot. the entire time i was calling their names, trying very hard not to sound angry since that would only give them cause to put more distance between us.

after major finished her duty, she changed direction and the two dogs went the other way down the street, meandering through yards along the way. a few houses away from ours, major disappeared behind a house, tex close behind. i approached the house, waiting for them to come tearing back around the corner and past me. but they did't. this could only mean one thing -- the backyard is open and they've gone in. this is a very good thing.

sure enough, as i go up the driveway i see the gate is open and there are the dogs. by this time tex has apparently had enough adventure and lets me take his collar. i drag him along and major more or less surrenders as well, letting me approach and take her collar.

turning around, i see the lady of the house standing behind the screened back door. she laughingly says, "got away from you, didn't they." i apologize profusely and haul two happy dogs back home.

reflecting on this episode, i'm thankful for two things: that we live in the middle of a block of large lots, providing many doggy distractions before they have the opportunity to cross any streets; and that i was fully dressed and wearing shoes instead of being still in my pj's, sans footwear.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Ornamentals | Permalink


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