Most days around 5pm, I open our front door so Truman can watch out the storm door for the pack leader to get home while I’m busy with dinner.
Yesterday I heard him barking, which was only odd because I hadn’t also heard the telltale diesel engine sounds of the pack leader’s car. A quick glance out the window revealed an empty parking space, so I went to see what Roo was so excited about. I found him, tail wagging high and play-with-me hackles straight up, woofing and sniffing at the bottom corner of the doorjamb. And on the other side of the storm door? Someone else who was ready to play, bouncing happily around my front porch.
It looked like Toby, my neighbor’s Houdini Spaniel (sure to become an AKC recognized breed). This wasn’t Toby’s first solo flight around the neighborhood; I’d helped my neighbor corral him before. So with one hand on Truman’s collar and one hand on the door handle, I invited him in so I could get a closer look at his tags and verify his identity.
Ha ha ha.
Why did I not see this next part coming? Because I’m an idiot. As soon as the dog had two nostrils and a toenail inside my house, he and Truman went warp drive and zoomed around my living room, chasing and spinning in an attempt to break the Labrador land speed record. I reached for my leash after I somehow managed to get two hands on the spaniel and confirm his Tobyness, but fortunately, I didn’t have to try to break up the party. Just then, I spied my neighbor and waved her over. “I’ve got him!” The poor woman, who had only minutes before returned from an out-of-state trip because her flight home had been delayed three days due to good ol’ Sandy, was relieved.
When I refocused my attention on the furricane in my living room, I saw Truman do something that he has never, ever, ever — in his entire history of living with me, EVER — done before. He picked up one of my slippers and ran with it. Now, this may not seem like a big deal to anyone who’s ever owned a dog, but those of you who followed this blog during Truman’s early puppyhood will remember that he was many naughty things, but he was never a chewer, or even a thief, of inappropriate items. His efforts were focused on epic power struggles with me for ultimate authority (otherwise known as Conquering Earth One Human At A Time). But never did he even so much as put his wee puppy tongue on a shoe or sock.
Totally weird. So I yelled as though he could understand English.
“What are you DOING? There are half a dozen perfectly acceptable dog toys on the floor right there, where you are!”
After telling him to drop it (which he did, instantly) and letting my neighbor in, we gave the dogs another minute or two of NASCAR time. Then we agreed the boys should have a real play date soon, Toby went home, and I retrieved my soggy slipper with an eyebrow raise toward Roo before getting back to prepping the salad.
We sooooooo need a fenced back yard.