Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lassie


Molly the Wonder Dog has many special talents.  Ok she has one special talent, she thinks she's Lassie.
 
Every so often MWD will come and find me and try to herd me into the kitchen.  It usually starts out with something akin to her potty dance, but even more frantic.  It quickly progresses to short, high yips.  By that time I have stood up to follow her and she takes off like a shot.  But instead of waiting by the front door to go outside, like she would do if she had to relieve herself, she bolts for the kitchen and runs back and forth between me and the chinchilla cage until I've opened it up.

Every time she performs this interpretive dance it is done to indicate to me that one of the chinchillas is in distress.  One of the chinchillas sometimes experiences seizures.  I'm aware of its condition and try to keep it as healthy as possible but the seizures hit without warning.  Molly either sees it or senses it and then comes to find me.  She usually calms down when I open the cage and pick up the chinchilla.  I place it on a piece of marble that I keep in the cage that helps them stay cool, and I check it out to make sure he hasn't injured himself while he was seizing.  Even after the afflicted chinchilla is back to his old self and climbing the walls of the chinchilla condo, Molly stays close by the cage for several hours.

Lately she's taken to waking me in the middle of the night when she can hear my neighbor's infant crying.  It's late, I'm groggy and inevitably think she's causing a ruckus because she needs to pee.  I put her leash on her and head out for a short walk and then she drags me to the door of the house where the crying baby resides and whines at the door.  When I try to go back to my house she gives me the most guilt inducing look, which frankly makes me feel a little judged.  Maybe I'm paranoid but I'm beginning to think MWD thinks I'm a bad mother for not soothing a stranger's screaming newborn in the middle of the night.

"I don't always wake you up to save someone else's crying child, but when I do, I do it in the middle of the night...in the rain."
Thursday night I was on the computer when Molly had just started up her "Come quick!  Timmy's fallen down the well!" skit.  I plodded downstairs into the kitchen and to my surprise both the chinchillas were absolutely fine.  MWD however was trying to get me back to the front door and whining something fierce the whole way.  Since I had just taken her for a long walk and she had performed both her bathroom functions thoroughly, I assumed that the neighbor's baby was fussing again and I just couldn't hear it.

So I ignored Molly and started to go back up stairs, at which point she started barking like a lunatic.  If you have ever had an indoor dog it was like a more desperate pitch and frenzied version of the "Someone has come to murder us all in our sleep" barking that accompanies every knock or ring of the doorbell.  She was also butting her head up against the door and trying to dig at the floor by it, which I have never seen her do before.

To appease her (and to save my flooring) I clipped her leash back on and took her out.  Instead of dragging me to my neighbors door and giving me a reproachful look that is only second to your mother's best guilt trip, she froze right outside the door and turned to me with the patient yet heartfelt "DO SOMETHING" look she reserves for fireworks, lightening storms, and being tormented by small children.

On my front porch, not far from the front door, was a little house finch.

 
I'm going to pause the story here to explain something.  Inspired by the follow verse, I hung a couple of bird feeders on the two trees in my tiny yard.
"Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedth them.  Are ye not much better than they"  St. Matthew 6:26
Ever since I was little I've been fascinated by small birds (ducks, chickens, and geese however are of the devil, please refer to my list in the spider post to find other items on my things of the devil list).  As an adult I've always enjoyed watching the chickadees, juncos, and finches come to feed and hop around the branches, especially in the winter when they bring life to the white and barren landscape outside my windows.  I don't know what it is exactly but there is something sort of hopeful about these tiny feathered friends that I find uplifting.

This night however, the finch on my porch was not exactly a cheerful beacon of hope.  It didn't look like it was breathing and it didn't move when I nudged it.  Molly laid down by it and just kept sniffing at it and looking back and forth between me and the bird.

"She's dead Molly, there's nothing I can do for her."


I felt kind of stupid saying it out loud but I didn't know what else to do.  I dragged Molly back into the house and she just laid down and moped by the front door.  I went inside to get a plastic bag to pick the bird up with and dispose of it in the trash bin.  I also had a fleeting inappropriate thought that I should find some chalk to do a body outline and some really tiny caution tape and see how much I could freak out my neighbors.  A few moments later I found myself standing back outside under the porch light with Molly whining at me through the door this scripture came to mind.
"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?  And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your father."  St. Matthew 10:29
I don't even remember reading it, I just remembered the words and it took me a minute to find the verse.  It may seem silly, and it is, but I felt like I should give the bird a little more dignity than a Lee's Marketplace plastic bag tossed in a dumpster.  I also knew I couldn't leave the bird out there for long before an animal came along and made a bloody mess on my doorstep, or a neighborhood child pulled one of these on their parents.



Of course the pyro in me immediately thought VIKING FUNERAL!  But even in with the rain pelting down I still worried about accidentally lighting my subdivision on fire.  So out came the garden gloves and spade to dig a pitifully small grave in the rain.  When it was deep enough I scooped the finch's body up with my spade and consigned her to the ground, recited that verse, and then filled in the hole and placed a brick on top to keep the neighborhood cats out.


It kind of makes me sad, but relieved.  Honestly I thought the first death at my house would be me caught by a stray bullet in a rare Logan drive-by shooting, or one of my neighbors lighting all our homes on fire by falling asleep while smoking in bed.  If I ever write a television show about my time in this house it would turn out to be a demented love child of "My Name Is Earl" and "2 Broke Girls".

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