Driving and Biking in the Big City

Posts Tagged ‘dogs

How does a pencil-skirted commuter climb a security fence?

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Little Lucy has a big roar

She has to be pretty desperate. If you’ve been commuting as long as I have – in years and in hours – then you know how desperate I am for hearth and home and wine at the end of a long day and an hour-plus commute.

Settle in for this one because it takes some ‘splaining and the ‘splaining starts with Little Lucy, a ball of fluff and an unexpected addition to our household. She came to us Halloween night, in need of a home. She’s shaken up our household and brought more smiles and laughter than I could have expected.

At eight-weeks-old, she had to be left home today with Big Dog Tucker for a bit while my husband went to some important meetings. As the usually longer-distance commuter, I’m never home first. But I was today and excited to be.  I couldn’t wait to let her little self out of the cute teal-colored kennel and get kisses and licks all over my long-day face.

That’s when I realized John had locked the back gate. Of course, he had. We’ve got a cool pool back there and no one was home. Unfortunately, my key to the gate hangs just inside the back door of the house. Now, I realized, that wouldn’t do me any good anyway because I didn’t have any keys to the house. I’ve been using this just-right-size-for-my-credit-card-and-iPhone as my side bag to my briefcase. My house keys were somewhere inside the house with my regular purse.

This wave of facts rolled over me as I heard the first cries and whines from my three pounds of mostly fur. It was a pitiful, pitiful sound.

First I ascertained that I was, in fact, screwed.  Back gate locked; front door locked; garage door locked; son’s keys to his own home and not mine; my keys not in the briefcase or console of my Clarence, my Rogue.

The cries from the little teal kennel continued, heartbreakingly louder every minute. Big dog Tucker was enjoying the show because I could reach over the fence, pet and reassure him.  He’s been around for 11 years and has seen many similar adventures. He knows that one of my pet peeves is to be locked out of my own home – something that happens way too often if I leave for a bike ride without house keys.

My first thought for a solution was of the two-by-three-foot, box-like plastic recycle bin on my side of the fence from recycle day. I didn’t really give it much thought before I tossed it over the fence, flat side up and against the other side of the fence. I was thinking I’d climb over and that would give me about two feet less to jump to the ground. Now, though, how was I to climb over on my side?

We have a marble bench that gave me a leg up, but, did I mention I have two new fake knees? I’m starting to think I may be jeopardizing my until-now record-breaking recovery.  I teetered on the marble and realized I couldn’t throw my leg over just yet and make my way down on the other side. I needed another boost of inches or maybe a foot on my side.

The barbecue pit is quite small. The fire pit is almost immovable. Thus, I chose the wooden rocker, swing and dragged it painstakingly over to the fence. Still, I’m not convinced I’m going to do this, and my sensible side of my brain keeps hoping John will return any minute to divert this action.


Heights to climb at the end of a long commute

But, I did it. I climbed onto the marble bench, then to the higher arm of the rocking chair. I teetered from this height, thinking of the new knees before I threw my right leg over the fence and lifted my full body off the rocker, straddling the fence in my skirt – it had a lot more give than I’d have thought.

Finally, I could feel the recycle beneath my tippy toes. And TA-DA!! I was over. This reluctant commuter was home.

Lucy was released and everyone lived happily ever after. Now, let me put those keys back in my briefcase or change out this cute purse.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

November 15, 2016 at 7:07 pm

Neighbors on two and four legs

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Tucker, Andy and Patsy look forward to a walk

Today I saw an irish setter that I’ve watched with his boy owner for years.  The beautiful rust-colored creature is quite well trained and even better behaved. I saw the familiar four-legged friend with what must be the father of the usual boy walker, and it dawned on me that the young boy must be old enough now to be off to college.

We must have been nodding and sniffing acquaintances for years that now melded into infinity. They were quite a pair in younger days, galloping the gully, sometimes swimming and always fetching a worn tennis ball. I loved to watch the boy and dog together and to consider how wonderful a dog is for a kid. I was reminded of my Barney, the dalmatian who was raised with my kids in Michigan and who would sit in the snow, waiting for his boy to come home from kindergarten. Barney heard the school bus long before human ears could tell it was time. I wanted to ask the man about the boy, but, as usual, the irish setter was in the lead and the passing was quick.

Andy dog and a butterfly

I had known them since my three-dog days, when I walked Patsy, Tucker and my beloved old Andy dog. Those walks were  wild and mostly painful for me but routine and necessary. We were always just barely under control and one cat chase away from a skinned knee.  I never controlled Andy much (a lot because his alpha dog had been the wild Barney) but also because of  his instinct to be free to hunt. He was the fastest, most agile creature ever in my life. He could jump our full sized picnic table without a running start, could balance easily on his front legs and stand for hours on his back legs, looking over the fence and into the great beyond.  For some reason, he reminded me of a skinny, wrinkled neighbor from my girlhood who would stand for hours at the fence, smoking and wearing a polka dot house dress, talking to my mom. Of course, Andy was quite masculine  in his white and liver-colored spots and too much of a health nut to ever consider smoking.

Andy with little brother Tucker

He once surprised me with a quick lunge at a cat, and I took a header into  some decorator poles and fences that sent me to the minor emergency room. But I couldn’t bring myself to correct him.  His instincts were too natural and his intentions quite innocent — unless you are a squirrel or a cat. I knew I had my hands full from his pup days when he jumped out the truck window, his skinny neck slipping the leash that I had, just in case. As prepared as I tried to be with Andy, I was never quite prepared enough. If he saw an opening, he would run free, too quick to catch and often speeding on the concrete until his paws bled. When he’d finally come home, his feet would be tragically mangled and we would both pussy foot around for days until he was heeled. I knew I shouldn’t  handle three hounds, but Tucker is related and has become a true treasure, especially after old Andy went to run the heavenly gully.  Tucker is a Lubbock dog who was at college with my daughter but then tired of apartment life when she graduated and began to teach. Even though I’m back down to two hounds and my life is pretty simple, I know the experience of three and give those folks some respect and plenty of space.

Almost daily, I see a couple of two-legged neighbors with a pampered white shih tzu — what I like to call a houseshoe dog because it’s fluffy and about the size of a foot.  This little family is more methodical and disciplined than me and my hounds  despite some physical tragedy. I noticed them first when the dog was a mere slip of a shoe, all pristine and fluffy. Later, she had an operation to correct a broken leg, and her owners still took her on outings,  pulling the fluff ball around the neighborhood in a red wagon.

I watched as Ms. Houseshoe evolved from red wagon to bandaged leg and some walking to full walking again. Most recently, the poor gentleman owner fell while he was exercising at the local 24-Hour Fitness and hit his head. He had to have brain surgery and what must have been brief time in recovery because I still saw him on his routine walks with the shoe dog but in a heavy head-securing apparatus. Nothing stops them from taking their fluffy on a regular walk even when he had to walk slower and several paces behind his wife. He’s now pretty much recovered but wears a helmet every day.

On the gully, I see a variety of owners and four-legged beasts who have discovered the fun of the open spaces, egrets, herons and no traffic. I’ve watched two boxers and their husband and wife owners train them from pups to well behaved dogs. This is, of course, in contradiction of my own spoiled dogs who can’t be controlled and who seldom are polite.

Patsy, our queen

Probably most familiar to me is the fair Romeo who lives in my neighborhood but who I’ve seen as far away as Greentree Pool (more than a mile away) and maybe even Lake Houston (five miles away).  I do not know his owners as well because they are never with him and actually let him out to roam alone. Of course, I capture him any chance I can and return him home, suspiciously thinking the owners let him right back out again.He is an adorable jack russell terrier with speedy little legs that carry him quickly on what appears to be a specific  mission. He is quick and sure-footed and has many places to visit every evening.  After he learned I would grab him and bring him home, he runs from me now. Still, occasionally, I catch him in a dalliance and snag him again. It’s a challenge for both of us and a pretty fun break from my routine.

My bird dogs in their prime, Patsy, smiling, and Andy, focused on business.

Like my two-legged neighbors, the pets here come and go. We make friends but do not get too attached. We are wanderers and like the traveling life, at least for now.

Indulge me the photos of my beautiful four-legged family members. All of these were taken by the magically talented, Big Johnny. He’s captured personality as well as beauty and movement in these athletic creatures.

Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

November 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm