The Cloak of Invisibility

Chase is a white dog and easily spotted in the yard on any dark night.  He is quite aware of this handicap.  If he doesn’t want to come in when called, he freezes, hoping he won’t be spotted.  He also knows the phrase “I can SEE you!” which then convinces him that he will be in more trouble if he doesn’t comply with the earlier command calling him in.

At the beginning of the year, The Englishman and I were in American Apparel and discovered, to our delight, a selection of dog shirts and hoodies.  I purchased a classic sweatshirt complete with the single pocket and zip up front for Chase.  It was a perfect fit and he refused to allow us to remove it for five days.  Warmer weather soon arrived and the hoodie was stored until the cold returned.

Summer turned into fall, bringing endless rain.  I dressed Charlie and Molly in new turtleneck sweaters and zipped Chase into his hoodie.  It was his super hero outfit.  It allowed him to spend longer periods of time in the yard, protected from the stinging rain and wind.  He lounged near the fire, perfectly bundled in the soft, black fleece.  He slept in the hoodie, swaddled in its’ warmth.  He would not allow anyone to remove his hoodie and one night I discovered why.

Chase followed me outside into the inky dark to check on the ducks and chickens.  I had a flashlight that dimly lit a small area in front of me.  Chase poked and sniffed near the edge of the driveway.  I whistled and assumed he would follow me.  Ever-obedient, Chase had disappeared when I returned less than a minute later.  I peered into the dark but could see nothing.  My dog had used his main super power:  The Cloak of Invisibility.  I whistled into the night.  Nothing.  I called for him, pleaded with him and offered treats.  Silence greeted me.  I returned to the house and gathered several more flashlights.  

I scanned the front yard and the street.  I imagined the lost dog posters and the embarrassment of adding “last seen wearing a black American Apparel Hoodie” to the description.  I could hear the whispers of the neighbors: who puts clothing on a dog?  I had just turned back, defeated and planning to seek assistance from The Englishman when I heard galloping clicks from the street.  Out of the darkness came a slice of white fur racing down the driveway.  Chase  dodged me and ducked quickly into the house through his dog door.  Panting heavily, he lapped the water in his bowl as The Englishman and I searched the American Apparel website for a new hoodie…in white.


Chicken Little

My youngest chicken, Willow, was broody.  She firmly planted herself in a nesting box keeping company with two golf balls.  When I checked on her, the feathers on the back of her neck rose like fine, reddish-brown needles.  She was cranky and solitary.  She wasn't laying eggs.  She wasn't granting entry for the other four chickens during the day.  I would force her out of her solitary confinement each day to make sure she had access to food and water but she promptly returned to her nest to guard the golf balls.

After two weeks of this behavior I decided that she needed a nice, warm bath to distract her from her broodiness.  I filled the kitchen sink basin with warm water and carefully placed Willow into the water.  She shook her body like a dog and flapped her wings which gave me a bath, too.  It seemed like she was okay with this new adventure because she settled into the warm water fairly quickly.  

When I was ready to remove her from the sink, I faced the challenge of wrapping a towel around her.  I needed two hands to hold Willow and keep her from trying to fly.  I looked down at the floor and saw a perfect space between the sink and my sleeping dog, Molly.  I dropped the towel to the floor, plucked Willow from her bath and set her in the center of the towel.  Willow turned her head to the left and screamed.  Molly had woken and was staring back at the dripping chicken.  The Englishman ran into the house and asked "Are you okay?"  I assured him that I was fine and that it was the chicken screaming.  The Englishman scoffed and said "I was asking the chicken, not you."

I wrapped Willow tightly in the towel and carried her into a patch of sun on the deck.  I sat down in a chair and held her in my lap.  She was peacefully basking in the sun until Chase approached and nudged me under my right arm for me to pet him.  Willow stared at the dog and then screamed again.  Her screams were loud, obnoxious and echoed across the pond.  I decided that I couldn't have the neighbors call the police so I patted the chicken dry as best as I could and returned her to the coop.

When I checked on her an hour later, she was dry and happily keeping the golf balls company once more.