I have been very happy the last few weeks. My Nika has been visiting and she really appeals to my wild side, that part of me that enjoys breaking rules and modes of behavior…well, just because. She and I don’t always succeed on these ventures, our humans are wise to us, but when they’re distracted, we can get away with squirrel hunting that is truly beyond the pale.
When our car pulls into the dog park in the late afternoon, Nika is usually leashed because our humans know she will head wherever the squirrels are – which is usually away from the dog park, in the open land to the south. So as they restrain her, I sneak out the back door and take off toward the dog park. She then strains to join me and if there are no other dogs entering or leaving the park, the human who holds the leash is nearly dragged to the pavement and releases her.
She tears after me and we race around through the trees just outside the dog park, where the squirrels often chitter and chat and laugh about all the dogs. We show them a thing or two, Nika and I do, leaping up at their trees, nearly climbing their stupid trees. And when Nika gets fed up with them, she flies to the south, to all that open land, her leash slapping the ground.
I can only follow her so far. I don’t run as fast as she does and always, within me, is the collective voice of my humans, calling me back, to the park, to treats, reminding me that retrievers retrieve, that they return to where they are supposed to be. Once I do what I’m supposed to do, Nika makes a very wide circle and joins me and we enter the park, free of our insulting leashes.
So while we race along the periphery of the fence, where there’s an overhang of branches and leaves from the outside trees, our humans sit around in the shade with others of their ilk and talk and talk. Syria, food, weight loss, job hunting, horses and polo and the interminable heat. Today, here in the shade, it’s 95 and feels like 111, that’s what some weather app on a human phone says. I’m grateful some human has brought in a pool; I plop down in the cool water, and gaze across all the green and sunlight at Nika, who has dug a hole and climbed into it, panting.
I know that Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq are places far from here where horrible things are happening. But why should these wars be mine? I only want to chase squirrels and be with Nika. I want other dogs to run and play and chase squirrels and find their true loves; I don’t want them to starve or flee their homes.
The human Prez talks about how there must be consequences for violating international law. This has something to do with the use of horrid chemical weapons. But how can ‘surgical air strikes’ act as punishment when only those who are NOT responsible will be killed? I feel the human despair and rage and hopelessness about this. But it’s not my war. Just show me the squirrels. Just let me run and dream and wear myself out so that at the end of the day Nika and I are zonked, settled in, gone for the night.
Yet, tonight there is hope that Russia is offering an out. That’s a good thing, right? It offers the prez an out from his line in the sand, right? Yes? Do I hear a YES that war will be averted? That it MUST be averted?