To the kennel and back

I’m staring at a blank screen. My mind is empty and the clock is ticking.
This scenario doesn’t happen to me very often when it’s time to write my column. It means my life is sailing along on with calm winds at my back and my slate is relatively clean.
Of course, all I have to do is put the latter paragraph into writing and my neck of the woods erupts into a plethora of dog barking and cat frenzy—giving me plenty of fodder to scoop into a 550-word essay.
First of all, my canine capers hardly are ever on leashes around here. For the most part, “Dot” and “Cash” know where their boundaries are and unless provoked by the one who occasionally gets too close to the property line, and whose incessant woofing sound like canine expletives and “You want a piece of me, dawg?” my two four-legged friends stick to home plate.
The only other times the four-legged frenzies are missing in action is, as I’ve said before, when a skunk or other small rodent dares venture within sniffing distance—or after I bring them home from an extended stay at the “Doggie Hotel.”
Once out of the car and on home ground, the dogs disperse into the wilds to take the poop they’ve been holding back since they left home and then head straight for the house, where inside they flop down and fall asleep for hours relieved to be back on familiar territory.
It’s always the same comical routine. They watch me line the back seat of the car with drop sheets and they know it’s time for a car ride. Doggy excitement abounds as they race around the yard yapping like the “Frisky Puppy” in a “Looney Tunes” cartoon.
Then they sit so patiently—yet teeming with adrenaline—as I slip on their dog collars and leashes, and open the door to the back seat of the car as they leap in.
My goal is to get behind the steering wheel before they explode into the front seat with all that dog hair (I rarely win that battle).
It’s really quite an exciting ride to the dog kennel for all of us creatures. Dog noses are shoved out open car windows into the wind, tongues are flapping, ears are flopping, and tails are wagging. And their driver is smiling and thinking about how much she is looking forward to the “dog days” off.
But all canine caper joy screeches to a halt when they bound out to play in the kennel field, and then see the gate close and realize I am leaving them behind. The howling and whooping begins as my foot hits the accelerator and I tear off into the land of the free.
I’ve often wondered how long the dogs can hear my squealing joy as I disappear down the highway.
Dogs know the sound of their master’s car. When I return days later to pick them up, I still am out of shouting range when the sound of “Cash” hailing my arrival with his version of joyous whooping and howling frenzy reaches my ears.
Repeat excitement ensues on the ride home, except that I’m wearing ear plugs to save my hearing from damage done by ecstatic and energetic hollers from two capers who shout “I Miss You When You’re Gone!” as if they just won the lottery.
But then, what am I thinking? They did win the lottery.
The funniest part of all is when, after arriving back home and with a couple of hours of rest and relaxation under their doggie belts, I jest with, “Do you want to go for a car ride?”
“Dot” looks up at me from the floor with a flat stare while “Cash” already has leapt from his sleeping spot and through the screen door before “Do you . . .” is out of my mouth.
There’s never a shortage of laughter around here.

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