Do your pets try to sabotage your vacations too?
Do they see you packing your suitcase and instantly throw themselves into oncoming traffic and get nicked by a car, so that you frantically rush them to the EMERGENCY room, only to find that there are no broken bones, but there does happen to be a golf ball lodged in their intestines?
Do they notice your light mood and assume that you must be taking a long weekend somewhere without them, so they chase a deer toward a barbed wire fence and the deer leaps over the fence but they do not and they do a triple twist kind of thing through the air and land with a thud? And then they refuse to get up off the ground? So then, your husband has to drive a truck into the woods to retrieve them? And then you both have to very, very, carefully pick up your pets and gently place them in the back of that truck and then drive them to your house to call the vet? And then while you are standing in your driveway with your cell phone to your ear and the doctor is on the other end saying, "Well, is he able to stand up?" they see a rabbit over by the woodshed, so they pop up out of the back of that truck as if the crank just hit the sweet spot on a jack in the box? And then they soar over the tailgate and your head and they hit the ground on a run and disappear?
Why are they such assholes?
One day, Sven came home with this sun.
"It was free." he says.
"Well," I say. "That's because half the face is gone and it's missing a leg."
"It's not a leg," he says. "It's a ray."
"Whatever," I replied. "Nobody wants half of a sun."
"I do," he says.
"You would," I answer.
He then hung it above the door, on the shed that houses the work van and other Sven things.
"It's perfect," he says. "And you know," he goes on, like a know it all. "If it had that other leg, you wouldn't be able to open the door."
I rolled my eyes.
"It's not a leg," I say.
"Whatever," he says.
That was five years ago.
And what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?
Well, if my aunt had a penis, I'd call her uncle.
This year was no different than any other year.
It was Thursday, the eve of girls' weekend.
AND NOTHIN'S BETTER THAN GIRLS' WEEKEND.
So, it was only natural that Hunter was all set to cause some kind of a commotion, because, his mama never leaves town, without a Hunter story to tell.
I got off work and I went straight to the grocery store with my list.
Shortly after, I pulled into the garage. I popped the trunk and I began to unload the items.
I could hear Hunter barking from inside the house, but he wasn't in the window.
"Sven?" I called once in the door.
I walked back outside for the next load.
Hunter was still barking.
I turned around.
He still wasn't in the window.
The shop door next to the garage was closed.
"Ah ha. That's where they are."
I opened the door.
Nobody was in there.
I crinkled my forehead.
Hunter was still barking.
I took the next load into the house.
"Sven?" I yelled again.
"I'm down here," I heard from the basement.
"Is Hunter down there?"
"No," he says. And then he came up the stairs. "He's outside."
I went to get the final load.
Hunter was still barking.
I came back in the house with the last bag and said, "So, what were you doing in the basement?"
"Staining some closet doors for a job."
"Oh. You know, I can hear Hunter barking out there, but I don't know where he is," I said.
"Your dog has been a total dick today," answered Sven.
"Why? What did he do now?"
"Well, first, he went missing for most of morning and I needed to get to a job site. And then later he was out digging around in the sun shed, probably after a mouse or something. He would not come out of there. I had to drag him, and I mean drag him all the way to the house and he started brain farting half way back. He was biting the leash and acting real shitty. You know how he gets."
An hour later Hunter was still barking out there.
"I'm going for a walk," I said. "And I'm going to find him."
"I'll come with," Sven says.
So, we step out the door with jackets on. It was quiet. The barker was taking a break.
"Hunter!" we called. "Puppy!"
We went past the sun shed, and the woodshed and stepped onto the trail. We walked in the field past the abandoned playhouse, toward the woods. Just before we got to the woods, Hunter barked again and loud and clear. He was back at the house.
We laughed and we turned around.
But when we got back to the house, he wasn't laying on the front deck.
And then he barked again.
Sven went directly toward the pond. "It sounds like he's down there," he says.
"No, it doesn't. It sounds like he's behind the garage." I went that way.
We both came back without a dog.
Then it was quiet again.
"Well, he'll be back soon. It's supper time," said Sven.
Now, the thing that you should know about Hunter is, if he were a child, he would be seeing some sort of a specialist. And if he were in school, he would be getting a little bit of extra help and he would be medicated. Once he gets on a topic, he can't get off a topic. He can spend hours and hours holding a mouse hostage or licking the ground or digging a ditch. He has barked the moles right out of our yard. Once his eyes are glazed over, he's gone. The only hope we have is that hunger will eventually snap him back to reality and bring him home.
So, like any responsible dog parents, we went inside and we ate dinner.
Every half hour or so after that, one of us would go to the door and call out, "Hunter! Puppy Dog! Treats! Supper! Do you want to go for a walk?" All of the things that can bring back the devil dog, if he is in the mood.
But Hunter didn't answer.
Then it was eight o'clock.
Then it was dark.
Then I started to freak.
"Something is wrong, Sven."
So, we put on our coats again and we grabbed the flashlights.
Sven said, "Maybe he's in the dunes. He's got a new tree that he likes over there."
So, we wandered in the night, crunching twigs and stirring up left over dried leaves from the fall.
No Hunter in the dunes.
"P - U - P -P -Y!" I sang out in my high pitch, sing song way, that just grates the shit out of Sven.
"H U N T E R"! he bellowed into thin air.
Son of a bitch.
It was time to take a drive over to the trailer court, a place where all wayward dogs eventually end up.
But there was no Hunter over there.
As we pulled back into the garage, he barked.
"Good, he's home."
But, no he wasn't.
Well, he was close by at least, still doing his Hunter stuff.
And then it was ten o'clock.
"Sven, I am so tired. I have to go to bed."
"You go ahead Millie. I'll stay down here and wait for him."
I climbed under the covers and heard the guard downstairs on the couch begin to snore.
Between ten and three in the morning I tossed and turned. I dozed. I worried. I dozed. I cried. I would have gotten out of bed and paced, but I'm afraid of the dark. I paced under the covers. Something was horribly wrong with my sweet puppy. He was hurt. He was laying out in the wild. He might have hypothermia. I looked at the alarm clock. In two hours it would go off. In three hours it would be light. I would call in sick. I would drop out of girls' weekend. I would scour every inch of our thirty acres and more, until I found my baby.
I recounted the events of the day.
I remembered pulling into the driveway and hearing his bark. My heart fell. What if I never hear his damned barking again. How will I live? What will I do?
I remembered Sven saying that he'd been a total dick and how he'd had to drag him out of the sun shed.
I sat up.
He dragged him out of the sun shed. Hunter was after something in the sun shed.
I pulled my jeans on that were laying on the floor.
I looked at the guard, who had slipped into the bed next to me. He was sound asleep.
"Should I wake him?"
I walked down the creaky stairs. I put on my jacket. I picked up the flashlight, that was still on the island.
I opened the door and stepped out into the silent night.
I was creeped out.
But, there was no going back.
The wind whipped the shadows of the trees in front of me.
I kept my eyes on the sun with the missing leg in the distance.
I got to the door. I slid the latch with shaky fingers.
The door opened a crack to reveal blackness.
"Hunter?" I whispered.
I waited. I thought I heard something.
I DID HEAR SOMETHING.
Hunter came barreling out of that shed, almost knocking me over. His tail was spinning in circles. He was spinning in circles. He ran in front of me and he jumped onto the porch.
"Wait!" I yelled, leaving the door wide open and banging behind me.
I ran like the wind to get the hell back to the house too.
We flew in the door.
He inhaled his supper. He washed it down with his entire bowl of water.
And then we went up to bed and we woke up the guard.
"Sven, Hunter's back."
"He was locked in the sun shed."
"How did he get in there? Oh, wait, I went in there to get a tarp to put under those closet doors. He must have followed me and I must have closed him inside."
Now here is something that you should know about Sven. Sven never closes anything.
He will leave the cupboard door open when he takes out a plate. He will leave the dresser door open when he pulls out a pair of jeans. He will leave the closet door open, when he removes a shirt. He will leave a screen door open when he walks out a door. He doesn't even zip a tent door shut. So, why in the hell, would he have closed that door?
Well, it is because lately I have been bitching and barking about closing the garage doors. You see, every summer our garage is nothing more than a bird sanctuary. I keep my car as far away from it as I possibly can, because if I park it in there, or anywhere near it, it looks like buckets of white paint have been thrown at it. And this summer we are going to hold a beautiful wedding and reception here for our beautiful daughter and that garage is going to host Magic Mike, the DJ. which will be across the driveway, which will be the dance floor, from one of those really cool white wedding tents.
Apparently, Sven is afraid of me. He is starting to close everything. He even shut the washing machine door last week. And that is the one door in the world that is supposed to remain open.
The alarm went off. I dragged myself into the shower and I went to work.
It was soon to be girls' weekend, if only the magic hour of 3:30 would arrive.
AND NOTHIN'S BETTER THAN GIRLS' WEEKEND.
I shot my sister Louisa an email from my desk. "You all set?"
"Sort of." She answers. "But, I might be a little late. I have to take Frisco to the vet. Somebody bit him in the balls last night and now he's all swollen down there."
Yep, all pets are the same.
They are all assholes.