New Life, New Friends, New Mexico!
September 17, 2014 by admin
First Photo – Meet Taylor! Queen of the castle I have landed in, here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, back in my own home country, the U.S. of A! All it took was a 36-hour, four-flight transit from Quito, Ecuador, over the past two days!
Second Photo – Before that, all it took was an application to Bettina and John Caffrey’s ad for a pet-sitter on my favorite matching site: www.trustedhousesitters.com, for exactly the time period I needed on my slow, winding trail to Denver, Colorado, for my annual family visit. Next, all it took was for them to pick me out from four responses, fire off a few questions and then to type HOUSESITTER FOUND on the posting and give me the good news.
They are a delightful, retired couple, lawyer & teacher, who are hard-core bikers, now on their way to Wisconsin to ride with the Roads Scholars, formerly Elderhostel, and visit family and friends in surrounding states. They plan to be away for three weeks, while Taylor and I soak up each other’s company.
Bettina’s Mother, Renate, came over for lunch today to meet me and we, too, hit it off marvelously. This couple has an enormous number of family members right here in town and they have the house to do justice to family gatherings. What a privilege it is to soak up this new and amplified definition of family as it can be, in the best sense of the word. It’s a second marriage for both of them and John is the oldest of eleven children…for starters.
But now, to the Story Of The Day provided by Taylor, the Rescue Chocolate Labrador, and the whole reason for my being here. As part of my quick briefing about house and habits of domestic canine and wild arroyo-dwellers in the scrub across the adobe fence: rabbits, coyotes, snakes and such, Bettina noticed that Taylor had picked up the scent of rotting rabbit in the shrubs. I remarked that she, no doubt, planned to roll in it; having become well familiar with that fragrant doggie discipline from my own little darlings over the years. However, I had totally forgotten this life-after-death reality when I took my charge for a walk after my hosts’ departure.
Ooops! Taylor had not, in the least, forgotten as she sniffed interestedly and roamed the vicinity, dragging her leash behind her. Forage, forage; scratch, scratch in the natural scrub vegetation and she emerged, victoriously, with half a dangling carcass! Ugh, the smell! She was trying to eat the thing as she ran away from me, full-well knowing that I was not pleased. I did remember Bettina’s story about how she will defend her food bowl with her life and very fierce teeth, if anyone gets too close while she is eating. A small vestige of her desperate childhood before this kind family rescued her.
Nonetheless, she was heading toward the yard’s gate, open front door, and then the oriental rug under the dining table, while swallowing fur and bones as she darted artfully away from me. I worried simultaneously about her stomach’s future and the stinky dead aroma which she was championing. At least, she hadn’t rolled in it…..yet! That would probably happen under the table, if she had her way. I grabbed her slithering leash, yelling ineffectively, “No! No, Taylor! Drop it!” and then whacking the prize out of her mouth with the poop bag I was carrying. That was empty, thank goodness, and it did the trick. I managed to bop the body out of her mouth and under a bush, while dragging her back inside, leading her to her drinking bowl to swish; then, thoroughly wiping off her face with a paper towel.
What was very noticeable, however, was her genuine docility as I exerted my Big Mamma Persona on this rascal charge of mine. She had not growled and defended her right to whatever delicacies her Ladyship might choose from the organic supermarket right outside her door. She knew she was wrong and she knew I was right and full credit was given where full credit was due. I complimented her all over the place for her wit and intelligence! This Mutual Admiration Society is a running theme between the two of us already.
HOWEVER, the story doesn’t end there! At 5:30, en punto, I fixed her dinner. Ohmigod! Rice and cubed chicken, leftover from a few days ago, when she was taken to the Vet’s because of a tummy ache of several days duration. Symptoms were loud stomach gurgles with dramatic moaning and groaning by the patient. The Vet attributed no more of a cause than extreme worry over implications of obvious trip preparation occurring between her parents. “Just give her people-food for a treat and let that belly have a rest!” said the savvy doctor.
Even now, when Taylor seems to recognize my role in her future, she has leftover prescription to consume, and tonight, I heated it making a big fuss over how delicious a dinner it was. Totally approving of this Chicken & Rice meal over her earlier choice of Rabbit Strongenough, I dished it into her bowl. Then, not wishing to deprive her of a single bite, I scooped my finger around the spoon to drop the small remainder into the dish beside her greedily scarfing mouth.
Taylor transformed into something alien! The noises that emerged! The teeth that grabbed that silver spoon! The attack of the Creature From The Black Lagoon! Was I ever thankful that my face was not as close as it might have been! Me and the spoon backed off and Taylor returned to her well-defended dinner. Makes me feel a whole lot safer to be living alone in the house with a warrior machine like that! Of course, I’m not afraid, anyway, but if I were….there’s the answer.
A few minutes later, I emerged from the bedroom to find a penitent supplicant waiting for me in the hallway. Every ounce of that really big and powerful animal was clearly at my service and filled with apology. I accepted. And gave her back her dignity by explaining that I really knew how she must have felt and didn’t blame her a bit.
She was justified. It was her bowl and how could she have known what I was planning to do with my finger and that little silver spoon’s leftover chicken. From now on, I shall remember my lesson.
But, embedded in both lessons is the clear example of the way this dog processes her information and the crucial, moral decisions that govern her automatic, as well as autonomic, reactions.
We’ll do just fine, she and me, with all this mutual respect going on between us!