I got up a little later this morning, 6:30, and surprisingly, Dusty was being quiet. But as soon as I tiptoed out of the bedroom the sound of the fan tipped him off to my presence. He began yipping and jumping against the side of the playpen in his usual unrestrained fervor.
I called to him soothingly, "Is Momma's baby awake. Come here, Sweetie." And as usual for the first full minute of momma-loving, he's sweet and gives good puppy kisses. Then things turn to non-momma-loving activities. Peeing, Eating, Playing and Biting.
But this morning, he wasn't too unruly so I decided to get down to his level - quite a task for an adult to get to eye-and-cuddle level with a six inch tall dog - and slip his collar on.
Let me digress a second. As you may know, Dusty has been showing extreme aggression when we try to slip a collar over his head. Yesterday - I hesitate to mention this but here goes - CFM was babysitting and took the little boy outside. Tiger, the maniacal cat has decided she likes playing with Dusty, or else she's trying to get rid of him.
She leads him down the steep hill to the bayou, around the lot, playfully batting and teasing him. She won't even climb a tree unless absolutely necessary and then only to say, Naa Naa Naa NaNa Na, see what I can do!
So CFM followed them around the yard, down the hill, over limbs and never could catch him. He told me on the phone that he'd finally had to resort to extreme measures to catch the boy. He found a lightweight fishing net that he uses to seine bait fish in the bayou and tossed it over Dusty as he made a pass. Sheesh!
He said, "You'd have thought I was killing him. He screamed and whimpered and cried."
Well, duh. No use wasting a lot of words. I simply said, don't do that again.
So this morning I told him I've been getting Dusty used to treats. I used one to get his collar on yesterday and figured he could tempt him with it and get him in the house. After I got his collar on, I tucked a treat into my pocket, took my camera and with just my slippers on, let him outside.
WHAT was I thinking? Tiger was waiting for him. She ignored the food I uncovered for her to lure him into play. It started innocently enough, a romp near the back door, then they Tiger ran down the hill by the boat.Snugging my sweater around me, I hollered at CFM to throw me my sandals. ( I didn't know it was 30 degress outside, the coolness hadn't seeped into the house.)
Then I took off after them. Up and down the hill, over tree branches and dead limbs, through the wet gumbo (louisiana mud) up the hill and over concrete steps and old bricks. Tiger stopped and climbed a tree just out of Dusty's reach and I thought, oh good, I've got him.
The the cat jumped over him and he took off. I was stepping gingerly on the steep hill which was getting steeper and brushier, the closer they got to the Wildlife refuge. Ironic huh? The wild cat taking wild pup into the refuge to lose him.
I was getting desperate to catch him, the leaves and briars were getting thicker, the palmettos slapping my sides as I tried to run after them, yelling toward the house, Hey, and Help, hoping CFM would hear me. Then the maniac twins were entering the refuge about a quarter mile from the house. My sweater got hung on a thorn tree and I began to fear that would not catch my crazy little dog. When the terrain got more difficult for his short legs Tiger sat just out of reach and waited on him to catch up.
I was out of reach and sound of the house, my only hold card - the little treat that was still in my pocket. I pushed branches and palmettos aside and kept telling him to come. Yeah right. Once he actually looked at me and I said, "Dusty, Treat," and held it out.
The cat moved away grabbing his attention. Cat 10, Marley 0.
My hands and feet felt like they were getting frostbitten, my nose was running, and I was getting scared that I wasn't going to catch Dusty in this trashy, rough terrain. I kept thinking, thank God it's not hot, because it's rattlesnake territory.
Finally, the cat perched on the end of a log that Dusty couldn't jump over without extra effort. He turned and I offered the treat. He came over and sniffed, then stole the treat and ran off. Talk about panic! Now I'm screaming at him. Dusty. Dusty, drop it. Uh huh, he understands, drop it, right? But I got lucky.
He always drops it to get a good bite on it so as I came closer, I noticed it was a foot away from him. I reached for it and this time I held it firmly in my hand. "Come here, sweetie," I said aloud, thinking, you crazy little fart, wait til I get my hands on you. As he reached me I grabbed him, holding tight as he wiggled. And started back toward the house, knowing I'd have to be double careful getting there. If I dropped him and he took off again, I wouldn't be catching him this time.
Okay, so why didn't I take his picture as he stood on the other side of the thorn trees, briars, downed limbs and foot deep leaves of the wildlife refuge. The little bugger's eyes gleamed with maniacal intent. The cat sitting nearby, non-chalant, as if this wasn't all her fault.
I was too damn cold.