Good dog . . . bark

After five years of living in the same place, our dog is finally making progress.

She’s starting to separate our property from everyone else’s.

Opening the door to let her run out for a potty break Sunday night, I made a quick grab for her collar when I saw three deer standing a few hundred feet away.

They were munching on the neighbor’s flowers, and as much as she would have liked them distracted from the fruits of their labor, I wasn’t ready for a night tromping through the woods to find our runaway.

So I hooked Livvy to the chain before letting her loose.

She ran out across the yard, and the startled deer took off.

But the two hungry bucks and their female companion were smarter than most. Considering how often they end up in front of my car, I don’t give them much credit for brainpower.

This trio stopped, however, and glanced back at their would-be attacker. When they realized she was deep in thought, sniffing out the absolute best spot in the lawn to let loose after a long drink from the water bowl, they sauntered back to the flowers. No dog, no sense letting a good meal go to waste, they figured.

My guard dog, meanwhile, the same slobbering, sniffing hound who scared the bejeepers out of the homeowner’s insurance investigator, was quiet as a church mouse.

She ran from one spot to another, sniffed, then moved on.

Finally settling on one dying patch of grass – apparently one of her favorites based on the brown tips of our poor lawn – she did her business without a peep.

Bounding up from her spot, I assumed it was time – the alpha dog would be unleashed.

Instead she glanced across the yard, then turned around without a single woof. She crashed onto the porch and straight into my poor husband, who was trying his darndest to hold still while I simultaneously shaved his head and watched the dog be outwitted by a bunch of deer.

Pushed away from the buzzing razor, Livvy bounced her way back onto the lawn, her chain making such a racket that the deer once again started from their post.

Clueless, the dog who’s known to bark at the air blowing a lone leaf across the yard paraded around the tree then back again.

And then, suddenly, we heard it. A low growl… then a bark.

Hanging off the porch, I looked to the backyard, where Livvy was standing at attention, her eyes trained on the same three deer who were now sampling the apples that had fallen off of our tree.

She barked again and jumped, pawing at the ground at the far end of her chain. Those, apparently, were her apples and she was bound and determined to bark those deer out of sight. The deer didn’t bother to jump. They didn’t shy away. They didn’t even stop chewing.

I just shook my head.

Five years and counting. That’s all it took.

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