In one fell swoop Hunter Bunter picked up his head, let out a bark, laid his head back down and resumed snoring.
"Did you see that?" said my Sweet Sven.
"Ssshh," I held my finger to my lips.
We were smack in the middle of Hunter's prime barking hours which run from four until eight PM and had been enjoying a twenty-minute uninterrupted stretch of peace and quiet.
This is very rare in the evening here in the black hole just outside Harmony Grove.
Recently Hunter has blessed us with an increased number of mini breaks from his thunderous barking episodes. Sometimes he is too pooped to perform.
Hunter is a believer in yin and yang, what goes up must come down and when it rains it pours.
So, no matter how pleasant these barking breaks may be, we understand that they come with a price.
Take the last payback, for instance.
It was a windy forty-five-degree afternoon. Although it felt more like thirty-seven since spring is being a total dick this year.
Sven said, "I am going to town."
I said, "Okay."
And then Hunter and I went outside to grab a couple armfuls of firewood and fill the bird feeders.
I always suggest that he do his business as long as we are out and about, and he typically obliges.
One of Hunter's favorite places to land after his duties is the lower porch. Here the deck boards are blocked from the wind and warmed by the sun. It is a great place for an old dude to sit and contemplate life, lay a head down and to snore.
That is exactly what he decided to do.
I took the opportunity to skip into the house and vacuum his hair from the rugs that are strewn about an otherwise slippery wood floor.
And then I thought I heard his mighty bark coming from the back of the house.
"Damn it," I said turning off the switch.
Sure enough, he was still contemplating life but now he was contemplating life from within the murky pond, and he was calling for assistance.
There was a family of ducks flapping their wings, squawking, and swimming away when I got there.
The bottom of the pond is black quicksand. I can tell you this for a fact as I had to step foot into it to fish Hunter out. My rainboots were being sucked into the muck with each step I took making me feel extremely clumsy. And I realized I should have bought taller boots when cold water came spilling in over the tops. This caused awful language to come out of my mouth. But eventually I made it to his royal highness. This is when I had to bend over and slip his sling, made for assistance in standing, under his belly. It was a wet, smelly and slimy affair. Finally, I had him all rigged up to help him up. But he was not cooperating. Perhaps he was sucked into the muck beneath. Somehow, I managed to get his behind out of the water and in the air, and he managed to stay afloat while I dragged him up the muddy side of the bank. From this point he was on his own. We had to take the wooded area back up to the house. I made it through the bramble without a scratch since I was fully dressed in clothes that were soaked.
I turned around and noticed Hunter had not followed.
He was sitting on another bank. A much steeper version of where we had just been, looking as though he was planning to go for a swim.
"Son of a bitch."
I made my over way to him.
"Do you need some help?"
He looked the other way.
After a couple botched sling attempts, he was once again back on his feet.
"Come on puppy dog," I said. "Let's go get a treat."
He looked at me and then he turned and started walking the other way.
"Where are you going now?" I hollered after the old coot.
He kept on walking until he got to the driveway. And then he turned in the direction of the road and picked up speed.
This caused more bad words to come out of my mouth.
I was able to catch up to him even with water sloshing inside my boots because he is pretty old. But that did not mean that I could change his mind or just spin him in another direction.
I had a hold of his calming collar, which is not made for turning a bullheaded, not so small dog around. It is supposed to smell like lavender and make life all warm and fuzzy. It however smelled like the pond.
I spun him around with it anyway and pulled and pushed him until we made it to the front steps.
Once there I gave him the old, "One, two, three," count, several times and also demonstrated how the steps are done several times.
Finally, he got his rhythm going and his good old, muddy old, self was soon standing inside the house on the rug I had just vacuumed. I reached for his towel on the hook just as he shook himself off.
And then Sven pulled up.