Pine Street Episode 98

Precious the dog felt conflicted. As much as a dog can, anyway.

Her tail wagged, seemingly of its own accord, catching the infectious happiness of the two people she loved most in the world enjoying their second kiss. Their joy radiated outward, warming the atmosphere around them, reaching down to the level where Precious’s tail could waive like a flag in it.

But. This was a walk, wasn’t it?

And right now, no walking was happening, was it.

So, while her flag of a tail waved happily, Precious felt an itching in her toes and her nose.

The only way she knew of to stop that itching was to move. Standing or sitting still did no good. In fact, it made the itching worse.

She knew this because, trying very hard to be a Good Dog, Precious sat on her waving tail, and held still, as still as she could, for as long as she could.

The itching in her toes grew and grew. She tried lifting one front paw, then the other, to see if the itching would respond.

It did.

It grew.

Each paw became itchier as she raised it, and itchier still when she set it back down on the pavement.

Meanwhile, her tail, always a creature under its own willpower, lifted her rear end off the sidewalk with its desire to wag again.

If Precious could have put her thoughts into words, she might have asked: when will this kiss be over?

Or: why do humans so enjoy putting their mouths together? Noses offer so much more pleasure when they touch.

Or: how long can one kiss last?

Or: squirrel!

It wasn’t actually a squirrel that grabbed Precious’s attention. It was a large brown leaf, somehow loosened from under the slushy snow, blown in a sudden gust across the street. In fact, Precious had never seen a real squirrel. There weren’t many of them in her neighborhood. She’d chased birds, cats, and the occasional small wild rabbit. Maybe a rat. But never a squirrel.

Somehow her doggy mind came up with the word “squirrel!” for anything that distracted her from being a Good Dog.

Running after the leaf felt so good. All the itching in her toes and nose vanished.

By the time she realized she was untethered, that the other end of her leash was not being held by either of the joyful humans she adored, she was halfway across the street.

Old dogs, like Precious, cannot run very fast. Likewise, they do not always hear the voices of their beloved humans calling them back. In this case, even if she’d had a young dogs sharp hearing, the voices would likely have been drowned out by the deep rumbling of the engine of the big black Jeep headed toward her, freezing her in her tracks.

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