There are chickens in the neighborhood. I don’t know where they are, or even which house is hosting them, but I can hear them cluck-clucking when I stand in our backyard. I’m mildly curious as to why someone has chickens and mildly concerned that they’re being kept in the backyard of a semi-suburban home and not on a nice farm somewhere. But as I’m only mildly anything, the chickens haven’t really bothered me too much.
Lucy, on the other hand, is losing it.
Lucy is one of our dogs. She’s a talking dog and a haiku poet, but she’s also a wannabe huntress. She chases birds with all the gusto of a creature that doesn’t know that birds can fly. She let’s squirrels know, in no uncertain terms, that they are not welcome. She pounces on flies and blades of grass with every ounce of her seven-ish pounds. And she absolutely cannot figure out the clucking. She doesn’t know where it’s coming from and, since I highly doubt she’s ever seen a chicken, she doesn’t know what sort of animal is responsible for the noise. The poor thing spent most of yesterday afternoon running back and forth on one side of the yard, her little head darting right and left, and barking frantically. Ironically, she looked like a chicken with its head cut off. After a while she sniffed the whole perimeter of the yard, came up fowl-less, and settled down near the fence to cry forlornly whenever she heard a cluck and look at me meaningfully. Can’t you hear that? Alien noise!! Why are you just sitting there?
My grandma says I’m getting boring because the only thing I talk about is the dogs. Well, it just happens that my dogs are fascinating and adorable and full of character. And when you’ve been spending as much time at home as I have, you end up mimicking Jane Goodall and collecting dog stories. Besides, I’d argue that the only things I talk about is my dogs and my grandma (the proof is in the pudding, er, blog posts)…but then, she probably wouldn’t think that was as boring. Anyway, the reason why I was so interested in Lucy’s confusion is because I sympathize. It must be distressing to know that something new and strange is nearby, but not know exactly where or what it is. For all she knows, that clucking is coming from a tyrannosaurus rex-sized foe. (Actually, I seem to remember that chickens are descended from dinosaurs–it’s amazing what information the brain keeps–so maybe that’s not such a stretch.) If you think about it, Lucy’s got the right idea when it comes to the chickens. Instead of being scared, she’s itching to find the little mother cluckers. She seems genuinely appalled that I am content to sit back, rather than investigate the noise. As someone who has screwed up fight or flight instincts, I find it encouraging. Yeah, that’s right, I’m finding admirable qualities in my dog.
Oh, and stay tuned for unrelated-to-dogs posts. Not that I agree with grandma (at least not completely), but I don’t want my words to get repetitive or predictable or (oh my dog) uninteresting. In the meantime, I think I’ll go watch Lucy come to terms with the world.