back door dog


what is that pounding, scratching, what is that infernal gallumphing at my back door?   what could it be, to make such a ruckus?

ah, yes.  i do see.

it seems the gusman has completed his morning tanning session, and is expressing his desire to re-enter the house.

with any ‘normal’ mutt i would simply drop what i am doing and trudge out to the back, cursing.  stupid dog.  but that’s not necessary in gussy’s particular case.  because he is so wise, because he is gigantic, because – well, just wait…

yes, please hang on just a sec;  there may be a brief moment of silence, a pause that ushers in the strange, desultory rhythm of canine dialectics.   you may hear another scratch, tentative and probing, or perhaps a plaintive bleat.

but then the unmistakable groan of poochmass rising on its haunches again; a more precise clawing toward a goal, a giant paw directed by some mystical mutty purpose…

augustus has learned to work the handle.

one more thrust and the door bursts open, slamming against the wall and the great beast is in, striding for his food bowl or his blankie, or perhaps a slobbery snack of biscuit…  who among us may comprehend such things?

i do know that just the other day i was out chopping kindling in the back, heard a sound inside the house and turned to see gus, reared up and staring at me through the window from the inside.

when i called he lowered himself rather clumsily out of sight.  a low bark came through the door but it seemed more playful, more a beckoning come hither than your classic cri de coeur chien.

i gathered up my stack of firewood, began climbing the porch steps and, just as i approached the door, my fingers on the handle, a giant paw burst out through the filthy cat hatch below and yanked the door open with such force i felt the porch slats shake.

inside the dark gargantuan lay stretched across the floor with a calm and regal grace, softly ushering me inside as if to say:  welcome, puny human friend, welcome to our humble manlair.

ever since he arrived, for some reason, donna has questioned the weight of gus’ intelligence, his drive, his gravitas.   perhaps it is his dark bedroom eyes, the sheer expanding length of his warm and loamy flank, or that, months after his fixing, he still wanders around the house with giant dangling horse boners and a clueless, cross-eyed look.

that’s my boy.  i know his furrowed head and kingly brow, broad and warm as ancient summers, contains unfathomable wisdom.  and i know that gus is more than merely handsome and strong and gentle and shy and sometimes a bit of a worry wart and a nervous nellie.  he is also, quite frankly, a genius.

so when the urge arises for the giant dog to wander out and bask in the sun again, i can just stay put, sip my coffee and wait those few delicious moments before i hear the back door being ripped from its hinges.

the dog can let himself out.

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