This was not my first trip to the big hunting house where Pack Leader often did her hunting, leaving me tied to the bike outside because, rather irrationally since as far as I know, wolfy dogs outperform humans on the hunt any day, canines were not allowed inside. This time, however, was different.
We ran smoothly around the parking lot to the back of the building, where Pack leader dismounted and leaned the bike against a high wire fence, the kind you can’t break apart with your teeth, that created a kind of open room next to what she called the loading duck. As far as I could sniff, there was no duck in the enclosure but my nose told me astounding news: that wire-bound room was full of good food. Also some food that had passed the yummy-in-the-tummy stage and was well into the good-for-a-roll stage, a category that I had not thought interested Pack Leader much.
Apparently I still had much to learn, for Pack Leader climbed that fence quicker than a raccoon, our bags slung around her neck. “Stay,” she told me, unnecessarily—I wouldn’t have missed this for the biggest, juiciest marrowbone in the world. I watched her technique with fascination. Her front paws scrabbled through the chest-deep pile of stuff, unearthing already-butchered-and-wrapped cow and chicken and fish from under the mountain of bags of greens and fruits. Vegetables didn’t interest my nose at all but they made her smile. Somehow she had known that all this stuff would simply be waiting for her. “We’re the first ones here today, o mighty fellow hunter!” she crowed happily; then swore as she stepped on something crunchy. A box of eggs dripped yellow goo—that should bring the raccoons running. ‘Oh, wait—there’s more….” She discovered two more egg boxes, intact. “Don’t they know that eggs stay good for months?” She packed them carefully into her backpack and then scrambled up the fence, hanging our packs gently from the fence top before dropping, back paws first, onto the concrete.
I wagged my tail hard to show my admiration and stood patiently while she strapped my load onto my back. Apparently I was carrying all the greens and fruits, so that I wouldn’t be tempted, I supposed. “Silly,” she said. “Your back is too young to carry all this heavy stuff. But just wait till you’re all grown up—you’ll work for your supper then!”
That sounded like good fun to me. The husky in us always appreciates a good workout. This expedition had been just a quickie. Pack Leader had saved a lot of time by using the grocery’s back yard instead of going in the front door and having to kill and catch all that food by herself! I was proud of her. Couldn’t wait to show off our prowess to mistress and Chichi.
We were half a block from home, just passing the house where a certain male human named Randy lived with his dog, Mary Jane, when I was hit full in the face by the most compelling scent in the world. Instantly intoxicated, I bolted towards its source, jerking the leash out of Pack leader’s unsuspecting hands and clearing a fence twice my height in the time it takes to crunch a pork bone. Once inside the fence, my leg rose up of its own accord and I peed on every upright thing in reach. I was a canine possessed, a monster whose paws scrabbled madly at the door, which rapidly failed under my onslaught. There were no thoughts in my brain, no social rules, no dreams of treat-treats or fears of being a B-A-D D-O-G. Somewhere behind that door was the object of my desire, whatever it was, and my entire being was hell-bent on securing it.
I became dimly aware of a heavy thwacking between my ears, over and over, and Pack Leader’s voice shouting, “Bad dog! Bad dog!” She must have regained her hold on our leash just as I broke through the door. The part of me containing my heart wanted to obey her “No! Stop!” but it was no match for the other parts of me, which charged through the hole in the door. Well, almost through—my backpack stuck out on either side of me and there I stayed, halfway between an unknown heaven and hell, one set of paws scrabbling madly for escape on either side of that ruination of a door.
Pack Leader was in my face, crouched over me to give me what-for. “You stupid husky! What in tarnation did you think you were doing?” She leaned over my neck and bit me a good one, considering that her species hasn’t a single fang to work with. I noticed that I had become a dog again in her eyes, something that seemed to happen whenever I did something dumb. Then she said something so terrifying that I sobered right up: “If you ever do something this dumb again, you are going to the Pound!”
“Guess he thought he was knockin’ on heaven’s door,” grinned Randy, who had staggered out of his bed on the floor, leaving a second, smaller human cuddled in the bedclothes, to see what all the commotion was about. “Wow. Isn’t he a little young to be so horny?”
“So that’s it,” Pack Leader sighed. She was struggling with the buckles of my backpack to free me from the door trap. “What are you going to do? Keep her in the bathroom for three weeks? Every male in Garneau is going to be camped on your doorstep.”
“Whatever, Man. It’s just Nature. Y’know? If she has puppies, she has puppies. Big deal. It’ll be fun.”
I heard Mary Jane whine a little and scrabble behind another door and suddenly understood that she was the source of that irresistible smell. I’d met her once before and she had seemed a pretty ordinary bitch to me. Now she was the queen of the earth. I had to get to her. I had no idea of what I would do once we were nose to nose but our passion was certain to shake the foundations of the universe.
Freed of the backpack, I bounded to the next door and threw Pack Leader my most beseeching look. It didn’t work. Pack Leader put on her super-stern face. This was not going to end my way.
“I’m sorry about your door,” she said as she marched toward me and snapped on the lead. “I’ll come back later”—here she glared at me—“without him, and fix it for you.”
Randy shrugged, his long hair rising up in a little wave on his shoulders. He picked up a flattened cardboard beer box and a roll of tape and patched the hole I’d made. “Done,” he said, although quite a bit of daylight came through underneath the cardboard. “Say, why’n’t you let your dog breed her? You could have pick of the litter.”
“He’s too young,” snapped Pack Leader. “And it’s bad for his back.” She slapped my backpack onto my shoulders again and jerked the straps tight. Next step would drag me away from Mary Jane, the last thing I wanted.
“So how’s your sister?”
“Studying hard.” Unlike you, I heard Pack Leader think. She waved a zucchini in my face which had evidently taken the brunt of the force that had stopped my passage through the door. “We’re having a party after midterms, if you want to come.” She glanced towards Randy’s bedroom. “Invited guests only—no party-crashers.”
“Hey, great idea. I’ll bring a little excitement along.”
“No dogs; no drugs, okay?”
“What? Not even a little smoke?”
“Who said grass is a drug?” Pack Leader dragged me out the door. “See ya.” Meathead, she thought. I didn’t know whether she meant Randy or me.