Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Drive-By Dogging

My wife, Tess, strives for professionalism and excellence in her work. She takes pride in her family and shares her mother's love of animals. She is also very mischievous. Our family dog is a Dalmatian-Lab mix--the result of a stray who conducted his own mischief with a local breeder’s purebred Dalmatian. We named her Dakota and got her for $15.

Dakota adores her Uncle Jerry. He lives three blocks away. If our daily walk or run should happen to pass his home, Dakota loses all decorum, goes into a wagging frenzy, and nearly tears your arm out of socket in pursuit of a possible visit with Uncle Jerry.

On a recent Sunday, my wife and I were walking passed Jerry’s house at 9 AM. A musician, he is often out late on Saturday nights, performing with his band. By the look of it, he had had quite a time the night before. A pair of dirty underwear dangled at the end of his fishing pole which was lodged in his porch, his truck was parked half in his lawn and half on his drive-way, and a lone boot was in the middle of his front yard. Dakota had her snout buried in it, tail whirring back and forth.

“Looks like your brother had a quite a time last night,” I said.

“Are those his underwear?” she said.

Dakota strained forward like an Iditarod dog, dragging me up Jerry’s porch. I gave her a stern command and got control of her again. She stood at the door, wagging hard, looking at me as if to say “You gotta let me in. Jerry’s in the there somewhere. C’mon you gotta let me in.”

“I’ve got an idea,” Tess said, grinning. She nabbed the secret key from under a ledge on the porch, unlocked the front door, and released Dakota from her leash. Dakota tore into Jerry’s house. I could hear her ransacking the first level, sliding on rugs, then clawing up the stairs toward his bedroom at 100 mph. I could only imagine that she was giving Jerry her usual greeting which consisted of ecstatic slobbery licking. I wondered how hung over Jerry was.

A burst of shouting zinged out of Jerry’s bedroom window. I heard some obscenities, then the word “Dakota,” then more obscenities. Tess grinned. She whistled, and Dakota cruised back down the stairs. Tess nabbed her at the door, I reattached the leash, and we were off. We ran up the street giggling. When we got to the top of the hill, all three of us were panting.

Jerry emerged from his front door wearing only a pair of shorts, squinting, and scratching his head.

“What was that about?” he called.

Tess stopped laughing just long enough to say, “Drive-by dogging, Jerry. We got you!”

Jerry shook his head and went back inside.

Tess petted Dakota, “Good girl, Dakota. That’s a good dog.”

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