Saturday, June 6, 2009

Rosie Pays a Visit

Dear George,


When Jennifer and Matt planned their family vacation trip to Albequerque and Los Angeles, they arranged for grad student Kelli C. to take care of Rosie.  Katja and I agreed to be backups if needed.  Their return flight to Indianapolis got scheduled later than planned, so we agreed to take Rosie on the afternoon of the last day of the trip.  Kelli dropped her off at 4 p.m. 


Rosie has visited us several times in the past, and she was excited to come over.  She gave me her usual exuberant Rosie greeting, jumping about, leaping into my arms, and giving me a bunch of sloppy kisses on the cheek.  Rosie is a little black and white terrier mix, probably about a sixth of the size of our sheepdogs, but with at least double the energy.  Mike and Duffy were out getting groomed, so Rosie had free play of the house, and she hurriedly scurried about, sniffing at every spot in the kitchen and dining room and exploring the environment.  I phoned Love on a Leash, and Nancy said we could pick up the sheepdogs at 5:00.


I went back upstairs and sat down at the computer.  After a while Rosie sought me out and gave me some needy whimpers.  When I didn’t respond, she retreated to the hall, then returned and whimpered some more.  I attributed this to her missing her family and didn’t pay much attention.  Rosie disappeared downstairs.  After a while Katja arrived and was happy to see our little visitor.  Then, though, she called up the stairs and said there was a poop on the kitchen floor.  I came down and looked at it.  I suggested to Katja that Duffy had had an accident that morning.  She disagreed – she was sure it was Rosie’s.  I looked at it again.  The poop looked pretty large for Rosie, but sort of small for Duffy.  “Rosie wasn’t even in the kitchen,” I said.  But then it dawned on me: “That’s what Rosie was trying to tell me!”  I felt bad about it.  Rosie had tried her hardest, but I didn’t pick up her cues.  As it turned out, the poop was solid as a pomegranate, and I scooped it up easily without leaving a trace.


We put Rosie in the back seat of the car and set off for the groomer up Hamilton Avenue in College Hill.  As we drove through Northside a police car passed us, going perhaps forty or fifty miles an hour, lights blazing.  Rosie perked up, with her paws on the back of the seat and her ears erect.  A second police car followed closely behind, then a third, all of them racing up the street.  Rosie watched intently.  More lights were evident behind us, and we pulled over to the curb.  Another police car passed, another, another.  Probably ten police cars in all, all racing to College Hill.  Rosie was absorbed, looking ahead and then behind.  I asked Katja what she thought.  We decided there must have been a homicide.  We passed the corner of Pasadena, where police cars filled the entire block and the street was  cordoned off with yellow crime tape.


At the groomer’s, Nancy said she had heard gunshots down the street.  Mike and Duffy, as usual, were ecstatic to see us.  Getting their hair cut is always traumatic.  I let them out of their cages, and they leaped all over me, barking like crazy.  Nancy gave me a look that I interpreted as disapproval of my lack of canine control.  I took the dogs out the door as Katja remained to pay the bill.


The dogs were excited to see Rosie, though Rosie decided she would just as soon stay in the front seat with the human beings.  As we drove back, the police were busy interviewing witnesses on Pasadena.  We soon learned on the news that there had been a driveby assault rifle shooting directed (by mistake) at an FBI undercover agent who was parked on Hamilton Avenue.  The gunmen were captured the next day – They had been trying to retaliate against a man in a black car who stole their marijuana money.  Though they fired fifteen shots into the FBI agent’s car, they failed to hit him.   So Rosey had witnessed the aftermath of an FBI assault rifle shootout, though she didn’t really appreciate the significance of it all.


At home we stayed out in the patio, and the sheepdogs surrounded Rosie, full of curiosity and sniffs.  Overwhelmed by the mammoth beasts, Rosie tried to climb up my leg, and I lifted her up to my chest.  As a naive puppy,  Rosie was not intimidated by the large dogs, but now, with age and experience, she’s become more cautious.  Duffy, whose social skills are more bestial than smooth, growled at Rosie, and I put him in the house.  Rosie got back on my lap, and Mike came up and gave her a lot of licks on the head.  Rosie remained dubious though and stuck close by me.


Jennifer had left a voice mail message that they had missed their connection in Chicago and that she and the kids were flying directly to Cincinnati, while Matt would get the car in Indianapolis.  Rosie and I went out to the airport to pick up the weary travelers.  Eleanor was the first person out of the tunnel, and she gave me a big smile.  Everyone  was happy to be home.  Eleanor and Calvin were excited about their trip.  Calvin had discovered a pay phone in the airport that discharged all the money put into it, and he had collected a tidy sum by running over after each caller finished. 


Everybody was pleased to see Rosie in the car, and she they.  On the trip back the childen had lots of tales of New Mexico, Hollywood, L.A., and the big adventure.  On arrival, Rosie ran up the stairs to her front door, and I returned home.  I was sorry to see Rosie go home so soon.  She is a fun visitor, active, affectionate, smart, and the most amazing leaper you’ve ever seen.  Terriers are very different in temperament and behavior from sheepdogs, and each of these dogs has their own unique personality as well.   Despite the brevity of Rosie’s visit, I was sure we’d meet up with her again.






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