“What’s that noise?”
Country dog stood on the back of the couch, scanning the street from the picture window while city dog lay curled in the couch corner.
“Did you hear it? Car! Car and walker! Both out there. Right there!”
“Oh yeah?” City dog yawned and stretched before coming to take a look. He saw it too and said, “Yep!” And then laid back down.
“That’s it? What if they mean us harm? What if they come up here? What if . . .”
Country dog paced with concern. These people were strangers and no one seemed to care.
Not Mommy spoke from the table. “Dude. Chill.”
Country dog lifted her thick black head in pride and went over to the woman at the computer before speaking, in softer tones, “There are threats, you know. Threats.”
Then she walked back to the couch mumbling, “Who’s going to protect us? You, lady, just watch glowing screens. City dog is . . . lazy. There. I said it.”
“Did you say I’m lazy?”
“I said ‘relaxed.’”
“You said lazy. I’ll show you lazy!”
City dog leapt from the couch and grabbed her collar. Soon both black dog’s were tangled together rolling on the floor. It was confusing that Not Mommy discouraged the important barking, but never said, Dudes relax during barking at play time.
Country dog thought Not Mommy was nice enough, but not perfect like her own Mother and Father, who really understood her love of socks, Libby fun time, and cats that run. But most importantly, they understood her hatred of The Pointy Death Collar of Fear. It was a collar with deadly knife fingers and you had to sit perfectly still so that knives wouldn’t slice out your eyes. Country dog tried to tell Not Mommy that country gals with big heads used harnesses, but she didn’t listen. She was more of a teller than a listener.
And yet, every time Not Mommy said, “Who wants to go out?”
Country dog could not help herself: “Me!Me!Me!Me!Me!Me!Me!Me!”
“Okay guys sit.” Not Mommy always was calling her a “guy” and a “good boy” and she was so obviously a girl. Hello, Pink collar.
It took forever to get outside.
Not Mommy put on The Pointy Death Collar of Fear. “Wait.”
Then opened the first door. “Wait.”
Then the second door. “Wait.”
And then the gate. “Wait.”
And then unhooked The Pointy Death Collar of Fear. “Wait.”
It took so long because Not Mommy, City Dog, Tall Man and Not Alex lived in the upstairs, like all the time, instead of just sleeping there and living in the downstairs like normal packs.
“Cat! City Dog! There’s a Cat!! Cat in the Driveway! Laying down. CAT RIGHT THERE!”
“Oh yeah?!” City dog ran over to the fence slat and looked. “Oh. That’s Milo. We can maybe say Hi later.”
That was the other thing. In the city, cats were different. Some even lived inside with the pack like Cat Dog who ate with the dogs, hung out near the dogs and even spoke fluent dog. County dog decided to ask Cat Dog about city cats. Just to double check how things worked.
“Hey, Cat Dog! Cat Dog? Cat Dog?”
“WHAT? God you’re annoying.” Cat Dog didn’t seem to like to Country Dog.
“Why don’t city cats run? Why don’t you play with me? Why won’t you run? Would you run now? Hey, wait!”
Cat Dog was walking away again. He didn’t talk much. Country dog bounded over to Cat Dog who was behind the TV.
“Will you run, pleeease. Why don’t city cats run?”
Cat Dog brought out his claws and lifted a paw. “You mean, why don’t we act like prey, so you can chase us and grab us in your slobbery mouth? Because, you big dumb fur hippo, City Cats are smart. All we want to do is scratch out your eyes.”
Poor Country Dog worried a lot about her eyes at the City house.
She turned to City Dog “Is he mad?”
“Yeah. You better leave him alone.”
“But I want to play wrestle tag. Come on, Cat Dog! You’re the perfect size.”
Cat Dog said, “I hate you… with the passion of a thousand hunting starved tigers,” and then ascended the cat tree.
Country Dog tried to follow him up.
“Owwww! My nose! Not Mommy!”
“Leave the cat alone honey. You get what you get if you mess with the cat.”
“Did you hear that City Dog?”
“Yeah, she likes Cat Dog; sometimes better and stuff.”
“Is that why Cat Dog is always allowed on the big-food-table-of-nom-noms?”
“Yeah. It’s super unfair.”
Country dog tried not to let Cat Dog get to her because, mostly, it was fun in the city, although she really missed her pack, and her yard, and her friends at Libby fun time. Not Mommy must have noticed she was feeling not perfect one day.
“I have a surprise for you guys, especially you, Sky.” Sky was Country Dog’s pack name.
Not Mommy still made her put on the The Pointy Death Collar of Fear, so throwing that out wasn’t the surprise.
“Well,” Country dog said to City dog, “What do you think it is?”
“I hope it’s more bacon,” said City dog. They’d been doing training lately with bacon.
“Like a whole package?”
“Like a Whole Tub Full?!”
“Like a YARD MADE OF BACON!?!”
Both dogs were really excited now, squirming and squealing as they went to the back yard. Not Mommy opened the fence, and there was a pool! Country dog ran over first and City dog called out, “Is it filled with bacon?!?”
“BETTER!” Yelled Country dog. It’s filled with WATER!”
And then Country Dog and City dog did the thing that they both loved best. Playing in a backyard pool together, in the city, just like they did in the country.