There are times when Malcolm and I really wonder about the dogs. Seriously, Einstein they are so not. That’s not saying Amore or Dolce are dull as dishwater or as dumb as dirt, they definitely have personality. But there are times when their lack of intellect shines way too brightly. Maybe I should have said, their lack of awareness, with their head-in-the-clouds wool gathering. Both dogs have a tendency to be a little bit of a ditz. Both have a susceptibility to be slightly unaware of events. Both are a little spacy and a whole lot of space cadet. That’s not to say Amore and Dolce don’t have moments of smartness or acts of cleverness. It’s just, these moments are usually overshadowed by their propensity to be totally oblivious to their surroundings.
On one hand, it adds multiple chuckles full of humor to Malc’s and my day. Like the day when Dolce was barking at a dog that wasn’t there.
Dolce is our traveling watchdog when we take the girls in the car with us. She sits in the middle of the back seat, head scrunched down to study the countryside. Eyes alert, tracking left and right, she scrutinizes the walking trails on the shoulders of the road, waiting to call out her find. When she spots a dog and owner on the hike n’ bike path as we drive by, she lets out a rowdy clamor, claiming dibs on spying the other canine first. The larger the dog, the louder the bark.
It so happens, about the time we cross over the RR tracks on our main drag, there always seems to be this one dog, an Airedale, walking with its owner. We pass by them enough times that Dolce is constantly on the lookout for them. Ready to be the first to hit the buzzer. Ready to bark. A month or so ago, we were driving towards home, when Amore blocked Dolce view (deliberate or not, we’ll never know). Dolce, so intent at being upset with Amore, forgot all about the upcoming railroad tracks. Until she heard our tires thump thump over the parallel tracks. By the second thump Dolce was in a barking frenzy as she was sprawled out in the back. When her head popped up to finish her spiel, she realized there was no dog, no Airedale, no human. Nothing walked the trail but a gentle breeze. Totally oblivious there had been no one on the trail. Her embarrassment took over, as her yelps quickly puttered out. Yeah, we got a good laugh over that one.
On the other hand, we (okay, maybe it’s just me) fret and worry over their absent-mindedness, their inattentiveness. Like last week when Malcolm was walking the girls at the Galisteo Basin.
If Malcolm and I were to describe ourselves as parents, I would be the worry wart. The one that takes all the safety precautions. The one that harps on Malcolm to leash up the girls. The one that errs on the far side of caution when it comes to Amore and Dolce. Malcolm on the other hand is the easy-going parent. The dad that is always reassuring me that they will be just fine. Leave em’ be. They need to run off their excess energy he tells me as he unhooks their leashes. That being said, when Malcolm walks the dogs, he usually doesn’t harness and leash them. I’m mostly ok with that, as the Galisteo Basin is fairly empty of other hikers during the work day. I mean, how much trouble could they get into, right?
Last week was no different from any other day at the Basin. Malcolm let the girls take a twenty yard lead as he started out on the trail. About five minutes into the walk they both came running back up to Malcolm as he trailed behind, hopeful for a treat. While Amore was hugging his wake, Dolce took over the point position. She was maybe fifteen feet or so in front, happily dog-jogging along, stopping every once in a while to sniff out what was new in the neighborhood, when Malcolm heard a loud buzzing. There was something in the back of his brain that screamed danger. Malcolm calls it his reptilian brain coming forward. In any case, it was a noise he had never heard before, but he instinctively knew. He grabbed Amore from behind him and bellowed at Dolce to come. Whether it was his tone of voice, or if she, for once, decided to obey his command, miraculously, Dolce ambled back to Malcolm, totally oblivious to any threat. Right there, in the middle of the road, not two feet away from where Dolce just was trotting along, was a rattlesnake. Mean, coiled and ready to attack.
Dolce had no idea she was literally inches to being bit. She was in her own little world, enjoying life. Didn’t even see the blasted thing. Didn’t sense it, hear it, or see it. Scared the be-jebbies out of Malcolm. Scared me just hearing out it. Rattlesnakes are no laughing matter.
It’s true that God protects children and animals. I’m thinking someone upstairs was watching over Dolce that day.