It isn’t always easy being a
dog. Oh, I will admit, it has its good moments, which surely outnumber the bad.
The obvious ones that come to mind are a warm bed, plenty of food, and people
who love me. The occasional bone, brought home by Brother BudPie, from the
butcher, just for me, and anything else I manage to scarf up from the floor, well,
those also are perks worthy of mention. In regards to the floor, anything
edible is fair game. No silly five-second rule applies. It’s first come first
serve. If you’re fond of your fingers, you’d better be pretty quick on the
draw, or get out of Dodge.
The flipside of that coin, just to name a couple, include a very limited ability to vocalize my thoughts, and non-opposable thumbs, indeed, no thumbs at all. These two limitations alone rule out about ninety-nine percent of all the things I would love to be able to do. Also, it would great to be able to read, although getting into the library might be a challenge. I could always fake it guess. If I could score one of those service-dog get-ups, I could walk up and down the aisles pretending to look for my owner, while perusing the book selection. But then, were I successful in getting one down from the shelf, and I could read, how would I turn the pages? Using my nose or my tongue, either one, would make a huge mess. And if I were going to do that, I might just as well chew the heck out of it from the get-go. As a side note, that has happened, once or twice, when Jake’s left one on the floor. As you may have guessed, he spends the majority of his time on the floor.
But I couldn’t read, and I didn’t have one of those fancy outfits. It would be fun, if Jake or Brother BudPie, in a moment of forgetfulness, would accidently leave the front door open every now and again. I’m sure the opportunity to meander through the neighborhood on my own would present many enlightening opportunities. For instance, just wandering around, I might pick up a few words here and there, of practical value. But Brother BudPie was in the Amazon, and Jake was pretty good about making sure the door was closed. Ah well, I don’t have a bad life. Maybe I’ll just take a nap right here in front of one of Brother BudPie’s surplus space heaters, until kibble is ready…..
Ruff jumped up from a deep sleep. Something didn’t feel right. The house was cold, and had an empty feeling. Rushing from room to room, he saw no one, heard no one, caught no one’s scent on the air. Trotting back into the living room, he saw the front door, wide open. “How did I miss that?” he thought, as he walked out onto the front porch. He caught a lingering whiff of Jake’s particular smell, there was no mistaking that, but there was another, more subtle scent mixed in, vaguely familiar, but nothing he could put his paw on. His keen dog mind, shifting into overdrive, could only imagine the worst. “Jake is gone, someone has abducted him, I must find him!” Following his nose, his best asset in his opinion, he trotted down the steps, up the walkway, out to the sidewalk.
“Man, cars everywhere! I think I’ll stay on this side up of the street.” Trotting on down the sidewalk, he continued to follow his nose, which could only be expected. “If I were been trotting backwards, my nose would be following me” he thought, proud of his quick wit. Just ahead, he was brought up short, in front of a funny looking yellow post, of a type with which he had previous experience. But this was the first time he had noticed the lettering it bore. The letters were: H-Y-D-R-A-N-T. “Ah!” He thought to himself, making the obvious connection. “Restroom. This reading stuff isn’t so tough after all.”
Continuing on his way, doing his best to stay focused, he came to a large, round, green container, sending forth a very tantalizing aroma. “T-R-A-S-H. “Hmmmm! Deli! That must say Deli!” And with a self-satisfied doggy smile, and a wag of his cute little tail, knowing that he might just stop in at this deli on his way back, he headed on down the street. “I might need to stop at that restroom too” he thought. “When ya gotta go…..”
Ruff was beginning to enjoy himself a bit more than he probably should, given the circumstances. He was on a mission, one of great importance, but dang! there were distractions everywhere, beckoning, calling, promising adventure, offering up choice tidbits of food. And speaking of tidbits, what was this? Oh, he had a vague idea, but it was not of a variety he’d previously encountered. “Hmm” he thought, as he circled it, wanting to view it from all angles. A quick sniff and investigatory taste confirmed his suspicions. And congratulating himself for not stepping in it, he continued on his way.
Jake’s familiar scent, in the breeze, but not on the ground, only confirmed his original suspicion of abduction. Someone was carrying him. And mixed with that was what he now recognized as lemon, vague to be sure, but still identifiable to his well-tuned sense of smell. But that wasn’t all. Along with the lemon scent was another, even more subtle, almost recognizable one. He’d smelled it before, but he couldn’t pin down the where or the when. “When I find Jake” he thought, “I’ll find the answer to that little mystery too.”
Just as he thought the trail might be cooling off, the vague odor made a sharp left, through a doorway with lettering above it, too high for him to see clearly. “I guess I can’t complain too much, considering how the world must look from Jake’s viewpoint.” And chuckling to himself at his clever joke, he passed through the doorway. Amid the hustle and bustle, the smells that assaulted his senses, of lemon, of rising dough, of baked goods and sweet frosting, standing at the counter with her back to him, was the source of that vaguely familiar smell. Bracing himself for the coming confrontation, knowing that he was looking at his little buddy’s abductor, he lowered to a crouch, and creeping forward, he couldn’t stifle the growl that escaped his throat.
Spinning, turning to face the threat, the woman, for it was a woman, was so startled that she nearly dropped the little snake perched on her arm. “Ruff!” exclaimed Jake, “What are you doing here? You followed us all this way?” Confused, Ruff could do nothing but sit, smile as only dogs can smile, and wag his tail. “I was sure I closed the door” said Jake, even though there was a hint of doubt in his voice. “I was going to leave you a note, saying I would be out with a friend for a while, but you can’t read. Ruff, I’d like you to meet Lemon Lady, a dear friend, down from Apple Land, where goodness grows on trees, and the Mexican food is superb. She’s here for a very special occasion. Today’s your birthday, Ruff! You’re one year old! We came down to the bakery to get you a cake.” Sotto voce, so as not to offend the shop owner, Jake added “It can’t possibly be anywhere near as good as Lemon Lady could make herself, but we were under time constraints. Oh! Besides Lemon Lady and myself, is there anyone else you’d like to invite over to have cake with us?” “Rowf” said Ruff.
And so it was, that Ruff, the lucky little dog, had the second-best day of his young life, the very best one being the day he was rescued from the animal shelter. And sitting in the living room, surrounded by friends, Jake, Lemon Lady, and Ralph, having finished the best piece of cake he’d ever had, he looked at Jake, with loving, if somewhat speculative eyes, and could only think, “Drop the cake, Jake. Drop the cake.”