Sunday, August 15, 2010
1.5 Percenters ... A Bear Tale
Look at me, Master, see how attentive and almost angelic I am?
How could you ever get aggravated with me?
I am completely focused on you, YOU, and only you. I am an obedience school graduate ... honors graduate, and I only exist to do your bidding and make you smile.
You say "Jump!", and I say "How ..."
... hey wait a minute ...
See them? M-U-S-T F-I-G-H-T U-R-G-E ...
I'm okay ... just give me a minute ... what was I saying?
Something about being an angel as I recall ... yes, that was it, you know I' m a good boy and you can count on me to be at your beck and call, perfectly obedient, and adoring.
Just look at me ... it's written all over my face.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Do not be fooled by that sweet exterior or the canine chattering above.
Oh sure it's true about 98.5% of the time, but that other 1.5% ... good golly, it's as if he's channeling Marley.
I show you the very short video clip below just to set the scene for the last Marleyesque episode Bear had.
Excuse the junk, we have been painting the house and all the porch clutter and paint stuff is stacked in the back "yard".
Go ahead and watch it (again) and I will explain Bear's most recent 1.5% episode.
A few days ago, Tropical Depression # 4 or 5 slid past in the Gulf, which was wonderful as it brought fresh breezes and sheets of heavy rain.
I loves me some heavy rain.
Anyway, it was during a particularly heavy band of tropical rain that Bear and I stepped out on to the porch.
I did not leash him as is my habit.
The rain was coming down so heavy, I thought it would keep him on the porch while we enjoyed the downpour.
Yes, I know he's a lab and that rain is water, but usually he is content to remain on the porch if it's really coming down.
At some point, I had the bright idea to walk around the L-shaped porch to the back side.
Everything was fine until we neared the back steps and there were the 3 veteran free ranging roosters.
His ears went up.
I commanded, "LEAVE IT!"
For a moment, he hesitated.
I moved forward, quickly reaching for that red collar.
He cleared all 3 steps and hit the grass running as the roosters scattered like shrapnel.
At this point, I was still optimistic that he would respond and return ... he hasn't had a chicken relapse in a very long time ... and I had the camera on to film the rain for y'all, so I shot that clip above.
The reason it's so short is ... he did NOT return promptly.
In fact it was a caninopoultristic catastrophy in the making, so I set the camera down on a bucket of paint and plunged out into the rain.
In about two seconds I was completely drenched.
Bear managed to catch a rooster who promptly played dead ... or fainted. I don't really know which.
We ran around and around in this driving rain, me yelling, him playfully staying 20 feet ahead of me with the rooster flopping in his massive jaws.
At some point, he stopped to rearrange the rooster and it dashed into heavy brush.
Bear paused on the edge of the thick grapevine tangle and I raced towards him.
Even as I closed the gap between us I saw him lift his head and inhale deeply of some scent that was even more tantalizing than rooster ... deer? the girl dog next door?
Whatever it was, he was off like a shot again.
To shorten this story just a bit ... For the next 15 minutes, I ran through my woods, the neighbor's woods, through an overgrown vineyard, and a defunct plant nursery littered with fence wire, pots, and other debris ... all in a driving rain and yelling the whole time ... except when I was desperately gasping for air.
It was all a game for him and his obedient 98.5% brain shut down so that the 1.5% Medulla Marleyonglata organ could take control.
Somewhere past the defunct nursery and deep in someone else's woods, he paused and seemed to come to his senses.
I stopped with about 20 feet between us ... dreading the sudden bolting that I fully expected.
I crouched and tried to call him, but my voice was shot.
Somehow I croaked out, "Touch" ... which is his command to come nuzzle my hand for a training treat.
I grabbed his collar, leading him through the woods and back to PFHQ.
Back at the house, soaked, tired, and ... just a little bit angry, I put him in time out and put some distance between us.
For his protection.
A little while later, after a hot shower and some dry clothes improved my outlook on things, I commuted his sentence from solitary confinement to rolling on the rug and hugging.
I can only be mad at him for about 1.5% of the time and that time was up.