Our Husky mix dog, Niko, has a lively sense of humor, and, like most Huskies, loves to run, sometimes forgetting where he lives or that we mere humans can’t run quite as fast. As a result, whenever we have him in the front of the house, we have him leashed, because he is not reliable like the beautiful Fiona to stay put, or even come when he’s called. He’s young, he chases anything that moves, and his hearing becomes very selective when he’s loose.
The other day I was taking the dogs out for a walk. The way we get them there is through the garage. The dogs know the drill. Go into garage, get leash on Niko, open garage door, go for walk. Wheeee! Except that day, things were a bit out of order. Open garage door and get leash on Niko got transposed. Uh oh. Garage door left open by accident.
Niko was out in a flash. Like I said, he’s fast. As I raced after him, he kept himself just out of my reach instead of running for the hills. He was playing a game with me. It was pretty hard to be angry with him, because he was so joyful in his freedom. I called, and walked after him with leash in hand, and kept him in sight.
Once the game moved to the neighbor’s yard and he was ducking behind their house, I started to get worried, but was still not too upset because I know how hard it is for him to live the more domestic life we ask of him, and he hadn’t made any moves to leave the county. I was standing practically under the neighbor’s back deck, calling Niko, when I heard a “meow” at my feet. Morpheus! What was he doing here? Asking him to go home fell on deaf ears. He stayed put and meowed at me some more, obviously trying to tell me something. And because I was focused on my canine starship warping all over creation, I wasn’t really listening.
Niko decided to do a close fly-by, making about warp 2 past me. If I had done a football-style tackle, I might have been able to put a hand on his back as he breezed by. I had to laugh. He was having so much fun. My leadership skills were definitely lacking. Laughing while calling “Come here! Come here!” is not particularly effective.
But then Morpheus stepped out and waved his tail at Niko. “Yoo hoo. Look who’s miles from the barn.” Niko spun around and was after Morpheus in a flash. Morpheus took off running, Niko hot on his trail, and that’s when my energy changed. Nobody, but nobody, harms one of our animals, especially another family member. Niko knew better than to chase any cat; we were always on him about it. I literally shrieked at Niko to get away from Morpheus, to come to me RIGHT NOW, and because I meant it, he felt it. He slowed. Stopped. Actually looked at me, turned around and then as I drew closer, dropped to the ground and showed me his belly. Morpheus, meanwhile, was safely under a lawn chair on the neighbor’s patio. Smirking.
I put Niko back on his leash, letting him know he was a good dog for letting me catch him, and we headed out on that aborted walk. As I strolled along, I reflected. Morpheus had passed a number of trees he could have zipped up to be safe. He was always far enough ahead of Niko that the chance of Niko catching him was pretty much nil. And he knew me well enough to know that in wanting to protect our furry brood my energy would shift enough for Niko to get the point that playtime was over. That’s what he had been trying to tell me. That he could help me catch the dog.
My assistant dog catcher, in my eyes, put himself at risk to save the situation. In his eyes, of course, he just did what needed doing. Cat 1, Dog 0, Human – lesson learned.