By Lesley Liddle
Lesley Liddle is a certified service and pet dog trainer. First Mate Lulu is a Corgi/Red Heeler with spots like a baby harbor seal; Crewman Leonard is a Chihuahua/Doxie with tall ears like a rabbit. Both dogs have very short legs and were originally found in California shelters. Lesley has average legs and can be found on Orcas Island.
Here we go again. Bedtime is upon us and the dogs must have their final sortie.
They are very excited about this because 1) they get to torpedo out yipping with delight to surprise some lurking creature such as a deer or cat that might hopefully be right outside the door but never is, and 2) they will then have a mad time chasing this imaginary creature to the edge of the lawn, and 3) they will zip through the hedge and circle neighbor Jim’s compost bin to see if any tidbit has possibly dropped onto the ground just outside it and then 4) they will dash back through the hedge and Lulu will have a brief squat and then Leonard will pee over her spot, and 5) they will race home to see who can poke open the cat door first to let me know they are back so that 6) they can receive their bedtime dental chewy and trot into the living room to eat it and then 7) Lulu will be hoisted up in her little elevator box to the loft and I will carry Leonard up the ladder and they will jump up into bed with me and snuggle while I read about one paragraph and we all fall asleep.
All this activity takes about three minutes, and, well, it may seem silly, but it is all splendidly harmless and every night when I ask, “Is it time to go out? Well, is it?” and they start squealing with delirium and head for the door for this so important evening ritual I just start laughing. They are just so much themselves it makes me laugh and I have this sweet sense that we are well and well loved in our tiny portion of this world.