I felt like I was in an episode of "Lassie".  Molly and George had returned to the house, barking and herding me into the backyard.  Once they were sure that I would follow, the two English Cocker Spaniels raced ahead to the edge of the pond and looked at me to proudly show their discovery:  it had frozen during the night and there appeared to be small paw prints on the surface.  Dog paw prints.  Their paw prints.

Before I could order them back, Molly and George spread their webbed paws, widened their legs and carefully waddled onto the surface, happy barks echoing across their winter wonderland.

For the remainder of the day, the pair took advantage of the rare ice skating opportunity, undaunted by the slippery cold surface.  By the next afternoon, the ice was gone.

Molly and George, ever the optimists, continued to check the pond's surface, waiting for it to transform once again.  Despite the unusual deposits of snow and ice during the course of the Georgia winter, the pond remained elusively liquid, forever hiding the memories of a moment when two small dogs joyfully took center stage.


Sock Monkey

Mom graciously agreed to dogsit while I was in California for the week.  She also provided up-to-the-minute reports via Facebook and several phone calls where she would produce such gems as "your dogs are snoring" and "your dogs are farting".  As much as I appreciated the daily dog reports on my four-packs' bodily functions, one morning update on George brought a smile to my face.

George likes to carry things around the house in his mouth:  a boot, a dust rag or his cherished stuffed animal du jour.  He also attempts to sneak these items out of the house and I have spent many a time in the backyard on a impromptu search and rescue mission.  George's favorite stuffed animal was a black and white monkey that Charlie de-stuffed in order to seek and destroy the evil squeaker hidden inside.

All that remained of the monkey was a single leg.  George adored that monkey leg and trotted around the house a few times before making a break for the back door with his treasure firmly gripped in his jaws.  Mom was too quick and headed him off, snatching the leg from his mouth and unceremoniously depositing it in the trash can.

Mom returned to her chair and whatever mundane human task she had been doing.  Moments later, George sat in front of her and demonstrated his trademark howl.  Mom ignored his charming behavior.  George strategically placed his head beneath her elbow and pushed up.  Nothing.  Several howls and bumps later, Mom finally looked at George.  Her sock was dangling from his mouth and he was backing away very slowly, taunting her with his eyes.

After a brisk game of follow the leader, Mom was able to retrieve her sock from George's determined jaws.  He may have been satisfied but his message was clear:  an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth...a sock for a monkey!