From here he watches over the birdfeeders and pond. From the corner of his eye he knows if the groundhog has ventured out from beneath the neighbor's garage to raid the vegetable garden. He might consider making chase, but advancing age has lessened any chance of his being a real threat to any furry creature, be it woodchuck or bunny, or marauding squirrel with a taste for sunflower. Most importantly, he can see the bend in the road - the point at which his defended territory begins. He orients himself to that place where children on bicycles (or heaven forbid skateboards!) and dogs on leashes enter his realm. He lies in wait and worries the honeybees working clover until he spots an interloper on his street. Then the show begins and he is up and running like a young pup. Pulling at the lead that allows him run of the length of the yard, looking to all the world like he is about to do a cartwheel off the lead and launch himself into the street. The neighborhood kids know to ignore his silly antics, but to the unsuspecting he looks quite ferocious. He likes it that way and seems to take a certain amount of pride in the number of dog walkers (especially those with little yippy dogs) that he can turn away and convince to retreat out of his territory and back the way they came.
For all the years we've had him, we've tried to break him of this habit, of being so ridiculously protective of his place, but to no avail. When he's finished his clowning he looks to me for the scolding he knows to expect, and smiles in his doggy way at having been bad. How can I fault him for protecting his pack and his place and for taking such joy in it?
3 days ago