Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hello, Neighbors

Today I took the dogs for a walk - M discovered a circular voyage around the neighborhood which would very easily take us a distance sufficient enough for Paladar to be so inclined as to move her bowels and which would very conveniently bring us back home without my having to remember how to get there. I've completed the course before, but today was a little different.

Today, I walked two dogs and one cat. Luna decided to come along. She wasn't leashed.

She followed us for a good distance, looking behind her every so often then picking up a good trot to keep up with the girls - Paladar, Harley - and me. It was fun, at first - I talked to her, deciding whether or not to encourage her to go with us or go back home. At some point, a mail truck joined the troops as well, and that freaked Luna out. We got past that by waiting for the mail truck to pass us and I found that when you're walking two dogs and one cat that's not on a leash the mail truck actually goes a lot faster than you, even with the stops.

At some point between the mail truck and the water drain I knew we were in it to win it - we had gone far enough from home that Luna was going to have to come with us until we got back home or else I worried she might be lost. I don't know - I don't know how far cats can go from home and still find their way back; I don't know if they're like Lassie and shit. I probably should have turned around before we got that far.

We went along another little bit when we came up to the water drain, which doesn't have a grate. Turns out Luna was the perfect fit and went directly down into it of course, dropping down to a distance I couldn't determine, like it was a little hobbit escape hole she knew well. At this point I was really worried because I didn't know if she could get back out, and I certainly didn't know if there was an underground sewage tunnel she could follow and come out at a drain closer to home, perhaps, hopefully? instead of into a rather large pond full of sewage.

I went to the drain and started calling her; she gave out those helpless little cat mews that they give when they are stuck up a tree or, as it so happens, in the opposite case where they are stuck in a below-ground drain. I still couldn't see how far down she was. Luckily, after a few moments, she crawled back out just as expertly as she had ducked down into it.

It was very shortly after this point that I realized that not only did Luna have to come with us, but also that we were a little past the half-way point. Now it would take longer to turn around and go back than to keep going - we would have to go forward, which is to say, around.

I was leading the expedition as best I could, and had almost lost track of the dogs completely because I was concentrating on the cat so much. I had no idea whether or not Paladar had dumped one in the street or in someone's unfortunate lawn. But I'm generally a good neighbor, and I know I've been doing the right thing with the blue poop baggies so far, and I was obviously struggling, so hopefully they would be forgiving.

The water drain incident behind us, Luna started seeking shade. It became increasingly difficult to spur her on with high-pitched, coaxing female cat-lover voice. She found the shade and she wanted to stay in the shade and do that disconcerting yet funny panting thing they do when they're in the car and on the way to the vet's office or, say, in the car for three and a half hours during the drive moving everyone to an undisclosed location about an hour away from Raleigh. I didn't know they did it in other circumstances, such as taking a walk around the neighborhood when it's hot outside. Should've figured. I very much felt like a member of a hiking group wherein one other member, despite lack of visible injury, had simply sat down, declaring exhaustion, refusing to go further, and pulled a candy bar out of their knapsack. I had to go on to more than one neighbor's lawn and drag her from under a bush or a car or a truck. I didn't know which they would less appreciate - me coming up onto their lawn to retrieve the cat, or leaving the cat there, possibly forever. I would pick her up and carry her for a ways until she started squirming, then I would let her go and encourage her to come along until she found another piece of shade and sat down. Repeat cycle.

I was carrying her when Paladar stepped on to a lawn to poop. I sat Luna down while I pulled out a bag. Luna waited patiently under a shade spot while I picked up a two-bagger. She followed along until, again, shade, so I had to pick her up again. For those of you who can't keep count, let me paint this picture - myself, carrying Luna, two dogs on a leash, and now the two bags of soft-serve, warm doodie. We walked through the neighborhood like this until a car went by, at which point I had learned to set her down to the side on the edge of a lawn, hold her gently until the car passed, then pick her up and keep going.

We were pretty close to home when my nose started itching, so I leaned down and held Luna up to scratch my nose with her shoulder blade. That didn't do too much good, just deposited a bit of fur on my nose, but fur was pretty much covering nearly the rest of me by now anyway, especially my hands. I let her go about three houses away from home, I figured we were in the safe zone, and she ran from shady spot to shady spot, mouth open and panting with a wild look on her face. There was a neighbor weed whacking the edge of her lawn who introduced herself as we approached home, but I've already forgotten her name.

It's hot outside, the girls are in the kitchen cooling down, I imagine Luna is somewhere in a shady spot outside, and I've gotta go study for my waitressing test.

Note: M, who is logical beyond reason, will probably read this and, knowing more about cats, will say that I could've just left her and she would have found her way home, or else that if I was worried I could have just turned around and come back home, or else that I could have completed the walk then gone out to find Luna and bring her back home afterwards, or else she'll come up with a solution more logical than all three of these I have offered so far.

But then where would have been the adventure in that.

Blogger note: Spell check doesn't recognize "doodie" as a word.


hamilcar barca said...

it sounds like Luna has you trained quite well.

Amber said...

yeah - little devil. I won't be doing *that* again any time soon.