trickster

I don’t even know where to begin.

I know Yogi is still a puppy. I know he needs attention and to be exercised daily in large doses. I know there is nothing I can do to stop him from rooting in the ground to make himself a bed. The shallow indents of his effort are like beads of a necklace, linking together around the house to form the imprint of Yogi,

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giving him many options to consider settling into as the day goes on. The holes to China are a different matter altogether though. At first I though they were the result of boredom. But I don’t think that anymore. Now, days will go by and he won’t dig and then suddenly, out of the blue and for no apparent reason, there will be a hole so breathtaking deep that I think only a fit of momentary obsession could produce such a thing. Maybe I shouldn’t keep filling them in. I’ve thought of that. That leaving no visible trace of his obsession might be the reason he makes a new hole. But I can’t help myself, anymore than I know he can’t help himself.

I know Yogi likes to be outside more than inside. If he is still outside when it is turning dark, I know it will be a major ordeal to get him back inside for the night. I know he will guard me, and our homestead, faithfully. I know he loves the challenge of extracting treats that have been wedged tight into a bone or toy, that I can get him to do just about anything if I wave a bully stick in front of his nose. And I know I will never tire of his beauty, of watching him run like the wind in the woods with joy and abandon as his silky while fur moves in waves around him.

It is his intelligence that has me all agog. It is an intelligence that contains stubborn and playful at the same time. It is an intelligence that doesn’t forget. We were at the vet last week for his checkup and when he got up on his hind legs and deftly opened the (lever hardware) door, he shocked everyone. His vet swears she’s never seen a dog do this before. For me however, it is old news. Yogi easily lets himself in and out the glass storm door here at home all day long. If I close the wood door with old fashioned latch, no problem, he can open that as well. At first I became obsessed with killing all the flies he let in, but realized if I just stopped closing the door every time he opened it, the flies would eventually just fly back out.

I’ve learned to close my bedroom door each morning before coming down. It hasn’t stopped Yogi from running up the stairs after his morning romp in the meadow with Nora, to see what else he can find to play with. If he can’t get back outside with a shoe or a sock or even a box of matches, or if he does and I don’t run after him in a mad chase through the meadow to retrieve it, he can become creative in his need to engage. The other morning, just as the skies opened up again and it began to pour, he managed to free a very large pillow that was lodged behind a chair, drag it to the door, hold onto it while he opened the door, and drag it outside. The weight of the pillow as it soaked up the rain was nothing compared to his determination to keep me running after him.

Today Yogi brought his trickster best to the woods. He first taunted me with the crushed can of toxic wax remover that he had found the day before, the one that I hid in a place, clearly out of view, far away from where he had finally dropped it, a place I could remember to retrieve it from another day for the garbage. I couldn’t believe it when he went flying by me this morning with it firmly clenched in his jaws. Recall was impossible. He knew I wanted to get that can out of his mouth. He eventually dropped it again, and this time I hid it under a rock when he was too far ahead to see what I was doing. We continued on to the large patch of ramps I have been harvesting for the past week. Today I came with two plastic bags to fill and a canvas tote to carry it all back with. I put the first bag full of ramps in the tote and set it on the ground next to where I was working. As if the vastness and variety of the swampy, boulder strewn, spring green woods wasn’t enough of a playground for Yogi, he snuck up behind me, grabbed the canvas tote and took off. Of course I yelled. I was mad, sure my precious ramps would fall out and be lost. He ran so fast, Nora a willing accomplice, that they were out of sight in no time. It took fifteen minutes of bribes and forced calm before he finally got tired of the game, dropped the bag in the middle of the trail, and wandered off. The ramps were still there. The bulging bag of just picked greens had been the anchor for his bite through the canvas.

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Just slightly bruised, still fully intact, they will be perfect for the next batch of pesto I want to make. Oh, and the blue napkin that he later tore a hole in the middle of? It is the perfect color blue I am using in my new quilt. I’ll just wash it and cut it up to add to my stash….

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Just when I thought the antics for the day might be done, he performed one more spectacular trick. Late in the afternoon I decided to walk down to get the mail, by myself. I turned to look at Yogi sitting on the driveway watching me. I didn’t lock the door, so I knew he would go inside once I was out of sight. In the past, I had come back to my slippers out in the meadow, or a remnant of yarn a tangled mess in the grass. I mentally scanned what might be out for him to grab, mostly I was concerned about my new knitting project, he had already gotten a piece of the gray yarn I was using for this. I loved the beginning of this project, another oversized scarf/shawl that would evolve the same way as the others, with no specific pattern or plan, with just a collection of colors that are speaking to me.

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I now keep everything in plastic bags for ease of transporting and for protection. They were sitting in the middle of the coffee table out of reach, or so I thought. The premonition did go through me as I rounded the corner of the garage and out of sight. It was so strong I almost turned around to go back, but no, my mental scan told me everything was safe, no problem. Less than five minutes passed as walked back up the driveway with the mail. Yogi was sitting in exactly the same spot as I left him. The door was closed. Big sigh of relief. And then I saw the gorgeous turquoise strewn through the grass. No no no no! He just sat there watching me yell, Naughty, bad boy! It was the large, oversized ball of fingering weight, hand-dyed wool, probably the most expensive length of yarn I’ve ever purchased, rich in subtle variations of the color that reminded me of the sea. The sight of it strewn and tangled, twigs and leaves caught in it’s snare, brought me to tears. How could he! I went inside. The bag it had been in was there right where I had left it but I hadn’t sealed it shut. Looking perfectly untouched. He had wedged his nose inside and somehow managed to extract this one precious bit, took it outside, gleefully I imagine, tossed it and flung it just long enough, and then stopped just in time to be able to go back to his spot and resume his innocent pose.

I honestly don’t know how I am going to see the silver lining of this mess.

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I think it will take days for me to calm down. And then I look outside. I get it, why he wants to be out there all the time. The ever changing beauty is irresistable.

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Yogi really is a trickster. I love him beyond words. I think he is determined to make me laugh, no matter what the cost.

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One thought on “trickster

  1. you are a good person and possess a dog lover’s heart. Yogi is lucky to have one so intuitive and loving. I adore him. He is a magnificent creature – and his sense of humor and rules of engagement are just enchanting. I do feel badly about your yarn…

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