Let me know if you’ve heard this one before…One of my boys, Tim, and his wife, Tina, had a Dachshund that was with them a long while, even before they were married. His name was Toby.
One day they were at our house for pizza and wings, as I remember it, and we were in the living room watching a cartoon with the kids or football or something. Toby liked to play of course, and with me it was always “fetch” (so I didn’t have to get off the couch).
After several tosses, he stopped fetching. After several attempts to get him to “go get it!” he wouldn’t. Well, because it was fun for me to play too, I got up and got the ball myself, which was out in the kitchen.
When I came back, my chicken wings were gone, and Toby just sat there trying to look innocent. Yeah, right. Wipe the grease off your mouth dog! But I couldn’t get mad. I had been played, yes, but I was simply amazed at his smarts.
He studied me. He devised a plan. Then, he executed his plan with cunning, accuracy, and speed. Did Tim take him to boot camp with him or something?!
A couple years later the old puppy died. Tim and Tina were heartbroken and brought Toby to me for burial (they were renting at the time), So, I took some scraps of lumber and constructed a fairly decent casket for the little rascal. I put in a nice clean piece of bed linen, a pillow case I think, for his journey. Then, I picked up the little guy and discovered Toby was not so little. So, I put him in his little box. He was pretty stiff by then and didn’t exactly fit…”Measure twice…” Well, at least once…Well, he cooperated enough to squeeze himself in.
I don’t remember the season, but I think it was chilly and wet. Good thing it was wet. Grand Island clay. Like two inches below the grass. Anyways, I went and dug the hole at the entrance to the veggie garden, about four feet was all I could manage.
Then, the kids came out. We took one last look. Wrapped him back up and lowered him down. The cover kept coming off. So after I climbed out of the grave, I lay down in a puddle and put the top back on. Tim and Tina finally went in, and I finished up, giving him one last goodbye.
Enter Mardi (as in Mardi Gras), another Dachshund. He’s another “wascally wabbit” who loves to play. He also likes his freedom. Patty and I (mostly Patty) were babysitting over at their apartment. Mardi had to go out and I was elected, of course, to walk the dog. (What? Would you leave me to shepherd the grandkids? Please!)
Anyways, I put Mardi in his harness as best I could, and we went on our little adventure.
There was an expanse of grass between the apartment buildings, walkways and landscaping. A short road came off the main road to parking areas. There was plenty of room to roam. Unfortunately, Mardi loved his freedom and roaming much more than I had expected, and he wriggled out of the harness much faster than I could stumble over to stop him.
Oh boy! The game was afoot! Grandpa was “it,” and I soon caught on to the name of the game: “Catch Me if You Can.” Well, I couldn’t…No way…
Oh, boy o boy! Mardi was having great fun! All I could do was shadow him. He wouldn’t come no matter how long I kept calling. He just kept happily bouncing along unaware that he was getting closer and closer to the busy street.
I thought of hollering for help but decided that would only make things worse. Inside I was withering and helpless. No one was around. Patty was inside. There was no way I could face Tim and Tina if I had to bury another dog. How could I face them when it was my responsibility? As my spirit sank inside me, I begged for help from God.
We kept getting closer and closer to the busy street. Mardi was still having the time of his life! There was only a narrow sidewalk right by the curb. I saw the signal had changed and cars were barreling down towards us. I could see another heart attack in my near future.
We passed a large, fat pine tree, him behind it and me in front still trying in vain to cut him off. He was still having a great time and was so proud of his speed and dexterity. He knew he had his freedom no matter what I did. I was helpless and hopeless.
He was behind that tree, for a just a few moments out of sight. When he reappeared something astounding had happened to him. Now, I don’t know exactly what happened behind that tree, but when he came out, he was a completely different dog. He meekly came over to me without me saying one word. Came right up to me and let me pick him up. I’m pretty sure someone had had a long talk with him behind that tree.
Again, I don’t know exactly why, but every time Mardi is around now, he either sits between my feet or snuggles up like an armrest on the couch. And he doesn’t play that stupid game with me any more.
I do have a good idea why.