attack cat and snookums

I suppose I should import a boxer photo for this post, or maybe upload pictures of my abrased ankle, but, either way, they wouldn't quite capture my two stories, so I'll just launch into them.


There were two boxers in our back yard. Not the type you see on TV in a ring wearing gloves, yelling, "Adrianne!" No. These were dogs.

At first, though, I thought I saw a deer. My son and I watched a video documentary in the living room last Wednesday or Thursday afternoon. Interruption happened with a yowl from our cat, Westley, causing us to look at the back deck, where at first glimpse it seemed Westley had repelled a small deer, a fawn sans spots. Only, it was too small. In fact it was a puppyish boxer, yelping and scared. Closer inspection of the yard showed a full-grown male boxer patrolling frantically. And the huge neighbor dogs -- invisible due to their places across wooden fences -- were up in arms (of course, they don't have arms; they do bellow with great hugeness, however, and I'm always glad they can't leap their respective enclosures). The boxers had somehow managed to pierce our fenced border. I didn't know what might happen next.

After repeated, indecisive openings/closings/openings of our sliding glass door I inhaled and stepped onto the deck. Grownup boxer had started marking around the yard, near the tomatoes, the grape plant, etc. I recalled my training days with our mostly Miniature Pinscher and said, gruffly, "NNno!"

You have to take initiative, act the alpha part, I remembered.

Mr. Boxer paused.

"Go home!" I commanded.

Mr. Boxer's look seemed to say, "Whaddayamean?"

I moved to the back corner, where two of the neighbors' fences almost meet. There is a section of unfinished cyclone covering the gap, and I supposed the dogs had dug in the soft dirt beneath it, though there wasn't a definite trough. No question about it when the little boxer (female, maybe) came and perched on its haunches looking sorrowfully as if to say, "Please, may I go home now?"

Uh, oh, here came Mr. Boxer. I had wished to avoid cornering him or acting as though I threatened his young friend. He approached between us, not threateningly, I thought. But I sure didn't try to pet him.

"You must go home!" I said, pointing. I repeated my Darth Vader imitation several more times.

Mr. Boxer started digging under that covered gap.

My tone changed to encouragement. "Good dog! Keep going, you can do it!" The little boxer trembled and watched. Mr. Boxer got stuck halfway, but persevered, and finally was in his own yard.

"Yay! Now, little one, go on."

The little one looked dubious. I tried to lift the cyclone patch. It isn't very flexible, and its metal points must jab awfully on one's back when one is trying to wriggle beneath it, which is why the little boxer hesitated, but at last the little dog worked and I lifted fencing and pushed rear, and the little boxer was through. Mr. Boxer greeted the youngster with a smile, I think.

Westley the cat had remained all this while on the deck, his fur fluffed and his gaze wary. You could just see him daring Mr. Boxer to approach. "Bring it," he seemed to say. When all was calm again, he remained on guard (though in more languid pose) the rest of the afternoon.


Saturday evening I donned my bicycle helmet and followed Tim along the bike path. My first two-wheeled ride in longer than I admitted. All summer I've been saying I'll get out and about, and still I hadn't done it. Really had been a while, because there was a new little bridge and several nice benches along the path that hadn't been there last time I was.

Evening heat made the breeze merely cajole sweaty skin. There was open blacktop ahead, and a cushy bike seat beneath. It was great.

Then Tim hesitated. He wasn't sure which way to turn off the path to get to the church for Vigil. I was behind him. He decided one way, came back, and when he next turned toward a sidewalk, I turned, not thinking about the small patch of gravel we crossed until, whatdoyouknow, my bike and I had tipped over.

Tim continued on. "Hey!" I called. Bleh. Dusty, dusty. My husband at last looked back. "I think it's this way," he said.

"I fell down!"

There were parents and kids at a play structure, and I was sure they were being entertained.

I don't recall if Tim said anything more, but he waited for me to catch up. Then he rode on, and I followed, calling, "Yeah, just bleeding back here, don't worry."

My ankle wound was the size of a BB. Still, Tim's back riding away was small comfort.

Later, after I led the way home in moonlight in the cooler breeze of a world lit by river and riders' small headlights, I expressed to Tim my main problem at the accident scene.

"You're very competent at times like that," I said, "but your bedside manner is terrible." I explained that the script for next time we go riding and I overturn calls for him to drop his bike, gasp, shout, "Snookums!" and rush to my side, inquiring demonstratively if I will be okay. Then I can say I'm fine and go on with dignity.


I'm not sure there's any connection between these recent stories. I am reminded there can be good reason our big old cat reacts bravely to certain stimuli. (I've no clue if a burglar would receive his full ire, but Westley might spit at him, at least, before stalking over to the couch to watch him nab things.)

I also appreciate my competent husband, who will always keep cool in a crisis, and who will never call me Snookums, and that is really fine, but he will smile when I dust myself off and explain things, and he's the one in the moonlight who follows me home.


Laura said…
This was great. In both stories we went forward, and back, and forward again to a good stopping place. It's the best kind of story telling I can imagine. Yay!
Carol Webster said…
Glad that you knew how to direct the two boxers. I wouldn't have had a clue! "Snookums" will never come from Tim's lips, but I trust him to be there for you.