I make no secret that I sleep with dogs. My running joke–though no one seems to enjoy it as much as I–is that every night is a three dog night. Often the three cats will join us, for a snug six-pack of furry warmth next to me, on top of me, pushing me out. I’ve awoken in all sorts of horizontal “Twister”-style contortions, with all of them surrounding me in a jigsaw puzzle of beating hearts.
Bedtop real estate is rarely contested, though there are grumbles and discussions, usually between Farley and Cutter. While Farley always concedes, moving away in a scuttling rush, he does so with his warbling complaining growl (he wouldn’t dare growl for real) that elicits a talking response from Cutter. Once The Monster (Cutter) is settled, always perpendicular to me, his head on my hip or leg, Farley leaps up to curl up next to /on my shoulder.
Farley is the baby of the family. Somewhere around 3 1/2 or 4 years old, he joined the pack three years ago. The Rottweilers accepted him and his always wagging tail, and his insane energy and drives. And I learned about the vast differences between a working breed and a sporting breed. Far is all bird dog, all the time. During the long winter months, when the weather is lousy and the back yard is a soupy mire of mud, Farley finds ways to entertain himself, and in the process, me.
My bird dog is all about his toys, and his delight with each one is such that I can’t help buying him new ones frequently. He has a toy box that’s brimmng with stuffed squeakys and chew ropes, bones and balls. Not to mention the sea turtles that are living under the bed, the pheasants lying around the house, the dimply honky ball (now in the wash), soft squeaky balls in every corner, a honking duck, a honking heart-shape (the honking sound is a siren song to Farley, so many of his toys have this) and the latest, a flying squirrel. The toys are ever present, being tossed seductively to entice me to play. As soon as I look at the item dropped by my feet he goes into a classic Setter crouch, poised for the feeble indoor throw, then the mad scramble for it as if there were even a remote chance of any competition for its retrieval. He flips and tosses with delight (more than one toy has ended up in a pot of soup or sauce on the stove) and honks or squeaks incessantly. And at the end of the night, one or more toys will have made it into the bed with us. Thus, waking up bleary eyed and rolling over, I encounter this in the morning:
Yes, this flying squirrel is cousin to Rocky, of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame. The chinstrap of his starred “helmet” turns into a slingshot, so one can launch him by pulling back on the tail and letting go. The thing makes (er, made) a squirrelly chattering noise as it flies through the air, little red cape fluttering, eyes goggling out of its felt goggles. The flying squirrel was pretty much an instant hit.
I know it will only be a matter of time before another toy comes home with me to join the squadron. And really, with a face like this, who could resist?