Article by Gertie Judgemore
Hunter, Tug-o-War Champion of the World and newly crowned King of the Jungle has been ordered to step down.
"It's only temporary," said Hunter.
"No it is not," said his mother, Millie Noe.
The suspended king began to speak. "Last Friday, just before midnight, I was attacked by a wooly mammoth!"
"We are not sure what it was that got him," said Millie, rolling her eyes and taking a sip of strong, black, coffee. "But there have not been any wooly mammoth sightings in our area for quite some time."
Millie, her husband, sweet Sven and I, were seated at their kitchen island. My recorder was between us teetering on top of a clock, that was on top of a picture of a basket and a sombrero that was on top of a couple of hats, one baseball and one winter stocking.
Hunter, the injured party, was laying at our feet.
I am not one to write about clutter, but.
"I am in the middle of painting," Millie said. "That is why it is so messy in here."
"She is in the middle of a lot of things right now," said Sven. "She just retired."
"A wooly mammoth?" I said to his highness.
"Yes," he answered from the floor. "It was real dark out there. It all happened so fast. But I am sure that is what it was. I heard a roar. Like no roar I have ever heard before. Then somebody or something, grabbed my neck from behind and then a very long and sharp tusk, stabbed me, right in my jugular. I broke loose from the mighty beast, and I ran right between his hind legs. I high tailed it home," he said. "I got to the house. Sprang onto the porch and barked at the door. Holy shit. It took forever for my mom to let me in. All the while I could hear the thunder of that monster closing in on me. Hurry, hurry, I kept on barking."
"We were in bed," says Millie. "It was Sven's turn to let Hunter in. But I couldn't wake him up. He was fake snoring."
"I was not," said Sven.
She continued, "As you can imagine, I was a little pissed that I had to go downstairs. Especially since I had invited Hunter in and offered him a milk bone earlier. He took the bone and shunned the invite. That is why I was in no mood to strike up a conversation with him in the wee hours. I just opened the door. He shot in. I turned off the lights. And we booked up the stairs."
"Yeah. She didn't even look at me," said Hunter. "So, I just followed her up and flopped on my bed. What else could I do?"
According to Millie, it was a very busy weekend at their household. "Sven was up and out of here at 7:30 on Saturday morning. He had to report to the Curling Club. The class of '67 was curling the class of eighty something in the Alumni Event. Hunter and I slept in," she said. "We prefer to sleep in."
"We lost our first match," said Sven. "It was not a good game. That eighties team is pretty loaded."
Per Millie's recollection, she and Hunter got up about a quarter after eight.
"I put the coffee on and filled Hunter's dish. He has been a little fussy lately. Sure enough. He turned his nose up at the new bag of food I got him. Sven says it's because I bought the kind that says for mature dogs."
"He is not mature," said Sven.
Hunter raised his eyebrows but didn't say a word.
"I sprinkled a couple bites of left over ham into it and set right it in front of him. But Hunter just looked the other way."
I asked Millie if she was concerned at this point.
Her response was, "No. Not until I saw that his fur was matted on the one side. I assumed he'd rolled in something God awful and there was probably a big mess somewhere up in our bedroom. When I tried to wipe the sticky goo off with a paper towel, I spotted a big hole next to his neck."
Hunter sat up and said, "From the tusk."
"Anyway," says Millie, "I immediately got on the horn with the clinic. Of course, Sven was out on the ice and unattainable. His cell phone was sitting on this island and the club phone was turned off. So, I gave Hunter his anti-doctor-anxiety medication and hauled him over to the vet.
According to Hunter, he ended up in ICU. "I didn't wake up for two days. And when I did, I had a breathing tube and all kinds of stitches. I looked just like Frankenstein," he explained.
"Let me clarify," said Millie. "It was not a breathing tube. It was a drain tube. And he had six stitches. He was not out for two days. He slept for twelve blissful hours. And he did not bark for thirty."
"It was a quiet evening," said Sven rather dreamily.
"So, what do you two think it was that attacked the King of the Jungle, if it was not a wooly mammoth?"
"Personally, I think it was a coyote," said Millie.
"Not a coyote," said Hunter.
"It could have been a saber tooth," said Sven.
"Maybe," I heard from the floor.
"But it would have been a cub," Sven whispered to me.
A week has passed since this interview.
I placed a phone call to see how things are coming along at the Noe household and learned that Hunter and his parents have had several more trips to the clinic.
The drain tube has now been removed.
The scare of infection has been flushed out.
And with any luck, the remaining stiches will be removed this coming Wednesday.
Life will return to normal.
"I hope so," said Millie on the other end of the line. "I am really looking forward to finishing this painting project and to getting this clutter off my island. Plus it is a pain in the ass having a dog who is on drugs all the time. Taking a wet noodle on a leash walk is not as much fun as it may sound. Sven is also looking forward to sleeping upstairs again. He says the couch is fine for nodding off in the afternoon, but as an all night venue, it is not the best. Even with the nice pillows I gave him."
I also inquired about the King of the Jungle's status.
"Oh Hunter? He can be king of the jungle during the day, all he wants," Millie said. "As soon as his doctor says he can be off leash. But at night? No. At night, this dog is grounded. For good."
"Not true," I heard in the form of a bark.