Jon De Vos – Well, it could have been a bear
Grand County, Colorado
Like many of us in Grand County who live on the edge of the wilderness, my wife and I live in dread of becoming one of those people you read about who get snatched off their decks by a marauding bear while basting short ribs on the barbecue. It seems every day some poor mountain yokel gets pummeled by an irate moose while fertilizing the petunias. So the other night when I stepped out of the house and a huge black shape charged at me out of the darkness, don’t you think I could be excused for squealing like a girl? Hmm, my wife didn’t think so either.
When it comes to our two dogs, Freeta Goodhome, the basset hound, and Cuervo, the licker, I admit that I’m occasionally tempted to project one of them into a lunar orbit off the toe of my tennis shoe. While we try to be responsible dog owners, we gave up long ago thinking we could train them to fetch our slippers or paint the bathroom. We’ve lowered our expectations to faint hopes that they won’t devour the sofa or barf in the middle of a dinner party. For us, it’s enough that they wag their tail when we walk into the room.
As smart as your dog is, I’ll bet they don’t look both ways when crossing the highway. Between a greyhound and a Greyhound Bus, size matters. Our dogs don’t run loose but it’s not that tough on them. From the upstairs safety of their Select-Comfort bed, they can look down at the squirrels frolicking in their fenced yard. They can only stand so much taunting, eventually rousing their ample butts to race downstairs, crashing into the formerly nice desk and digging their claws into the initially expensive leather sofa before blasting through the dog door long after the squirrel has meandered off to safety. Once in the middle of the fenced dog pen, they forget what lured them out and they look wistfully back upstairs where their sleep number awaits. This happens about eleven hundred times a day.
Turning into the driveway a couple of nights ago, we pinned a stray dog in the headlights . . . hey! That’s no stray, that’s Freeta. How’d she get out? She was wet and clearly terrified at the thought of losing her spot on the gravy train. I must have left the back door open because the wife was certain she hadn’t, so I had to endure the spousal glare, bombarded with reminders of how lucky I was that “something bad” hadn’t happened during Freeta’s brief flirt with freedom. What if she’d run off after the Schwan’s Ice Cream truck? What if she’d been eaten by that Greyhound Bus or run over by a raccoon? What if she’d . . . finally I called a halt by begging forgiveness, pointing out that none of those awful things happened, the stupid mutt was fine, only damp and a bit smellier.
Fast forward to last night when the spousal voice wafted up the stairs, “Where’s Freeta?” I looked around, nope, not up here. I checked the bathroom, the closet, the bedroom, the pen and the bathroom again. It was impossible to miss the accusation, “You’ve let her out again!” like I’d suddenly picked up a bad habit. Cuervo was hopping like a monkey at the thought of all the extra room on the bed.
I headed to the garage to get the car to check the ditches and the Greyhound Bus tracks. As I flipped on the light, a huge black shape began lurching toward me and I squealed in terror. It took several breathless moments before I realized the stupid mutt had burrowed to the bottom of a trash bag where she was rolling around, savoring the final tidbits of last week’s garbage.
The Russians may not be the only ones to send a dog into orbit.
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