Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Dead Thing

Dog Blog Post #107: Years ago, when Beau was about six months old, we went to some sort of practice field trial thingie for Golden Retrievers.

It was in late spring/early summer, with my then 9 year old son’s allergies in full bloom, when we hauled ourselves out to some desolate, weed filled part of nowhere to learn how to turn our hyper, barely controllable, young golden into a hunting dog.

What were we thinking? We don’t even hunt. I rescue earthworms from the sidewalk after it rains. I have two bird feeders attached to my office window. I haven’t fished since the day I realized that it ends badly for the fish.

But there we were, three suburbanites and one adolescent dog with red eyes and a blue tongue from pulling so hard on his flat buckle collar.

We learned a lot that day.

We learned that Beau doesn’t mind loud noises, like the Starter’s pistol that was fired near our ears.

We learned I do mind loud noises, like the Starter’s pistol that was fired near our ears, and that I can jump really high when I’m startled.

We learned that Beau doesn’t have a recall.

Ok… we already sort of knew that, but we were hoping that he would want to stay near us because the landscape was totally foreign.

We learned that we were complete idiots to think that Beau would want to stay near us because the landscape was totally foreign.

We learned that practice field trial thingies use some sort of dismembered bird wing for retrieving. A once living, but now very much dead, once frozen, but now rapidly thawing, dismembered bird wing. We christened it The Dead Thing, which sounded almost cute until I realized I was going to have to pick it up and throw it.

By hand.

No gloves.

That’s right - not my manly husband who once spent 30 days backpacking deep into the wilderness, and not my “gee dead things are cool” son, as neither one of them were going to get anywhere near it.

No, the honor of throwing The Dead Thing fell to me… the one who carefully steps around snails to avoid squishing them and thinks roughing it is eating your lunch from a cooler on a picnic table.

Much to our surprise, we learned that Beau actually liked retrieving The Dead Thing. In fact, he was the only young dog there that would even pick up The Dead Thing. He picked up The Dead Thing over and over and over again, and even brought it back, just so I could throw it again.

Isn’t that delightful?

But back to what we learned…

We learned that Beau didn’t want to go into the mud-edged stagnant horse pond. Scratch that. We learned that Beau would not go into the mud-edged stagnant horse pond.

Not for me, standing on the water’s edge.

Not for me, standing knee deep in the stagnant water with my bare toes squishing in the stinking mud.

Not for the other dogs, having a great time paddling around in the stagnant water.

Not even for The Dead Thing that I was instructed to loft into the stagnant water.

Great… another chance to touch the now thoroughly masticated, very much dead, well-warmed and practically disintegrating dismembered bird wing.

How lovely.

And yet Beau remained firmly on dry land.

It could have been worse, I suppose. I could have been the owner of the young Golden who did jump into the mud-edged stagnant horse pond after The Dead Thing, only to discover he didn’t swim quite as well as he thought he did.

The dog, that is. The owner swam just fine. I know that because I got to watch him jump into the mud-edged stagnant horse pond and swim out to rescue his dog.

Then I got a really nasty glare and this visceral desire to crawl off into the weeds and disappear.

My son had already disappeared by this point, back to the car with my hubby. Son’s allergies were in full swing (from all those Vegetative Dead Things) and he was a sniffling, sneezing, runny-eyed mess.

Yes, we learned a lot that day, some six years ago.

Why the happy reminiscing?

Because tonight I’m sitting in my Living room, having spent a ½ day of precious vacation time waiting for the pest control man to show up, only to be told that awful stench in my sun-drenched house (going on three days now) was probably from A Dead Thing…

… somewhere in the walls…

“No ma’am, there is no way to find it, and even if I could it would cost thousands to get it out. Not to worry,” he continued, “after just a few more days of rotting, the smell should subside.”

Gee… I feel so much better.

Until then, I have three scented candles burning and my son has retreated to one of the few rooms unaffected, shutting the door behind him. The dogs are apparently either oblivious or immune to the smell, as neither has shown the slightest interest or given the smallest of sniffs.

Yes, I did try a half-hearted “Beau, Find it!” but he looked at me like I was nuts. Or perhaps he was just remembering how I looked the last time he brought me a Dead Thing.

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