Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Dog's Lament

Last night, I sadly discovered that clearly poor Hollow had been abused in her prior life -- at least certainly hit.

Let me explain....

I went out late for their last potty break of the evening, sometime after 11:30 pm, close to midnight. We tromp in the frigid temperatures to the back area of the house where we do our potty breaks as usual, then tromp back to the front of the house to go inside.

I start walking up to the front of the house, while Rilke wanders on the drive a bit. This I don't actually mind since I'm cold and he still hasn't actually gone to the bathroom.

What I do mind? Hollow, who is on the deck next to me heading for the door, looks up, sees Rilke on the drive, and then bolts. Yep, full speed, no hesitating, no looking back, she is running as hard as she can straight up the driveway into the pitch black.


Doesn't matter I'm yelling at the top of my lungs. And of course, since she's off to the races, Rilke glances back at me once, and then starts scampering after her (as yes, he scampers.... especially in these cases where he has no idea what the hurry is, but is just chasing after in a "what're we doing now?!" excitement).

So they're both gone.

And it's late. It's cold. It is pitch black.

I check the clock inside and it's 11:44 pm.

I am not happy. I am worried, I'm pissed. I'm cold, I'm nervous.

I go back inside and pace by the door. As previous "wanderings" tend to mean that they will return, but on their own time and pace, and there is nothing I can do but ignore it till they show up at the front door.

But it's 11:46 pm's's's pitch black.... Oh. And I want to go to bed now.

Damn them.

I go outside, stand on the deck by the front door and start calling.... My voice echoes off the mountains... I worry for a moment I am waking every one up within a 30 mile vicinity.... I worry that I'm waking up the wildlife and alerting them that the buffet bar has just opened.... I worry that I'm doing nothing....

5 minutes.....  Tick. Tock..... 8 minutes.... Tick. Tock..... 10 minutes.... Tick. Tock.

Finally Hollow comes flying back down the driveway at top speed. Alone.

She hits the deck, and her ears are already back. I can imagine that she has spent the last minutes not just thinking "Woo hoo! That was fun!" but also composing her "Dog's Lament" of apology to me.

So an aside: Several weeks ago I saw a lovely little British film called "Dean Spanley". A typical British film -- quirky, funny, bizarre, fascinating, interesting. I have to admit that if I tell you the storyline you will probably say "no way in hell." But you should watch it. Amazing film. If you like quirky characters and storylines, love dogs and dog stories, and like stories of families, family problems and family renewals, you will love this film. (Read more here.)

Or see more:

Anyway, the reason for this tangent is that within the movie they discuss the "Dog's Lament" -- the deep apology, begging forgiveness for whatever trouble the dog just got it.... The Lament that is specifically composed as they are doing this trouble, figuring that the trouble is worth it.... so all they need to do is compose the best possible "Oh my master I am so so so so sorry...."

So Hollow hits the deck at virtually full speed....Her ears are back, and I can see the grin barely being covered by the prepared "Lament"....

But I am pissed. So I move quickly towards her to push her down on the deck immediately, with the intention of rolling her over on her back and showing my will through the standard dog alpha maneuver. She immediately cowers in the corner by the front door with a whimper -- I proceed with the roll over, talk to her sternly, and then put her inside.

I'm still waiting for Rilke, so I continue on the deck, starting to call again and whistle again (Rilke seems to respond better to whistles -- Hollow to calls), and start thinking through what just happened.

Rilke finally shows up... Also full speed down the highway, also a big grin on his face that is barely disguised by his clearly in-process-of-being-composed lament.

He gets the same treatment -- an attempt to flip him over on his back, hold him down and talk to him sternly. He, on the other hand, resists the flipping over -- and that strikes me. And, while I am maneuvering him onto his back, I notice a wet spot on the deck, right by the door....

I put Rilke inside. Hollow is still at the door with her ears back. I stare at the spot.

She was so scared she had peed.... That is heartbreaking. That is beyond heartbreaking. I go inside.

Her clearly well-composed lament is on her lips, as I step in the door, she scooches up to me, keeping her butt on the floor, her head low, her ears back, and pushes against me. I can virtually hear her: "Oh my master, my master, I am so so sorry.... I deserve it all, for I disobeyed you my master...." It is heartbreaking actually....

I give them both "home treats" and think how sad it is that some people think that dogs do not understand.....

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