Boxing Houdinis

My morning meanderings were interrupted today by a request from Mum-in-law: with heaven only knows what trickery, the dogs had managed to escape their kennel. One had wandered up to Nan-in-law’s house, the other, as became clear from a glance out the window, was happily trotting in circles, sniffing the snow.

Left dog (Molly): Up at Nan's. Right dog (Carmen): Happy circles in the snow.

Before I moved here, my pet ownership experiences were sadly limited. My grandparents had a Yorkshire Toy Terrier (which is not really a dog) but living in London, in rented accomodation, put paid to the idea of my own dog or cat – and the critters I owned when I was little don’t count. My rabbit went mad, was given to a local animal park that had a warren and, when we went to visit, had killed off all its colleagues. My fish were neither furry nor huggable and my brother’s guinea pig just sat in the garden being big.

Joining a household with so many animal inhabitants was one of the many pleasures of my Wyoming exodus – largely because these ones are so full of personality and bounce. A little too much bounce, in today’s case; my task for the morning was to round them up and get them back indoors.

Previous escape attempt.

Carmen was easy to catch up with: offer her a cuddle and a bit of attention and she’s yours for the taking. Her closest animal relative is Eeyore; she likes to make out as if nary a soul has petted her in all these long years. Were she able to speak, her doe-eyed catchphrase would be: “Thanks for noticing me”.

Molly, on the other hand, is the most enthusiastic dog I have ever met. Literally everything excites her; she can generally be found sniffing, digging, plotting or thieving rags from Dad-in-law’s back pocket. Her victory list of bowled-over visitors encompasses children, adults and unwitting Englishwomen.

Our dog, Maggie: Princess, darling, general ball of adorable.

Apparently, part ownership in a pooch has honed my dog herding skills. I clocked Molly’s ears bouncing over the snow line, called her name in my most masterful tone, watched her screech to a halt and discovered she was still interested in the concept of bowling me over. She had a 100-foot run-up. I watched that jubilant boxer hurtle towards me and couldn’t work out whether to fling myself to the floor or leg it for the hills. There wasn’t time to decide but, thankfully, a small sidestep prevented the bum-on-snow she’d intended. All that remained was to bounce her towards the house.

That’s now two dogs and a Tasmanian-Devil-in-disguise that will mind me. Anyone know how to achieve the same effect on a slightly bitey kitten?

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