A very clever and sweet re-write of Clement Moore’s The Night Before Christmas.
The wily and intrepid Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog is guarding her breakfast. Not eating it. She’s far too intrepid for that. She’s guarding it. The workings of the brain of the livestock guardian dog are often beyond the comprehension of we mere mortals, even canine mortals such as Teddy Bear T. Dog who’s here with me as I try to write a blog post that’s even remotely interesting.
“I’m not going in there,” he says to me, telepathically. “You taught me ‘NO!’ Martha and I believe you. Even though there’s tuna on Bear’s breakfast, I’m not going near it because you said ‘NO!’ and she curled her lip that time. Anyway, you in your graciousness put tuna on mine, too, and I’m grateful.”
Meanwhile, he gets all the morning rawhide pencils.
The differences between these two are so fun. Yesterday I got to enjoy them fully. Bear and I rambled slowly around the slough. Bear caught scents, I caught vistas and we were happy. I came home, put Teddy into his harness, put a bag of treats in my pocket and we headed out for 20 minutes of training in the empty parking lot of the high school. Besides, “sit,” “down,” “stay,” “heel,” I’m teaching him to stay with me without being tightly leashed. For a puppy, concentrating on any one thing for any length of time is a huge challenge, but he’s getting it, even, sometimes to the point of walking at heel when he’s on a loose leash. It’s a little challenging with the leash fastened to his chest because it easily gets between his feet, but he’s a stalwart and intrepid little guy.
“What, Bear? You really aren’t hungry? OK. Do you want me to cover that and put it in the fridge?”
“Yeah, otherwise I have to stay here and guard it, and I’d rather be with you and Teddy in the living room.”
“OK, but it might be your dinner.”
“BEAR!!!! I want to sleep!”
“I have a job to do, Aunt Lois. I need to make sure my flock is well and safe all night.”
“But you’ve woken me up four times! I’m tired! It was a long day! Fun, but long.”
“OK. I’ll go check on Mark.”
“You do that.” Lois gets up and slams her door shut, hoping that this time it latches. Martha wakes up at the sound and knows the whole story. She laughs to herself and goes back to sleep.
Morning comes. Martha’s up first. She looks in her friend’s room and sees the sheet pulled up over her face and laughs to herself again. Bear doesn’t give up. Bonded to humans rather than sheep, she is taking care of her flock. Lois and Mark are her flock and when they come back to the fold after a long absence, Bear is visibly relieved.
In the solitude and silence, Martha makes coffe and a smoothie, taking the blender to her room so she doesn’t wake Mark who’s sleeping in the semi-bedroom/studio off the kitchen with only a curtain, no door. She sits down at her laptop and with amazing tenacity continues looking for agents who might possibly represent her book, The Price. She does this only because it’s the right thing to do, and necessary, not because she has any hope. She doesn’t.
Lois wakes up.
“I guess Bear checked on you a few times?”
“I finally gave up keeping her out of my room.”
Later on, Mark stumbles out.
“Did Bear check on you in the night, Marky?”
“Her nose.” Mark had slept on a mattress on the floor, an easy target for Bear’s cold nose.
This is the hazard of spending the night in the same house with a tenacious livestock guardian dog who loves you.
(Some of the conversation in this post is possible but imaginary)