Eighteen degrees, a 12-mile-per-hour wind, and a couple of inches of snow. I spent all night freezing, but you could tell from the way Roo was lolling around and on the bed and smiling and rolling over to lie on her back and batting at me that, as far as she was concerned, with things, at about 50 degrees inside, were finally starting to go her way.
Junior has reinstituted her moratorium on nighttime pees. Holding it in for the 15 hours from just before the end of civil twilight until her morning awakening doesn’t seem to bother her. I worry about her peeing even though she doesn’t. In fact, even when she humors me and does consent to step outside at night, she rarely departs with more than a small honorary trickle before trotting back to the door to come inside and claim her traditional reward, which is a slice of salami. I make her nibble it out of my hand instead of just handing the whole thing for her to swallow like the chowhound she is. This spate of not going out at night began before the few and distant New Years fireworks someone blew off, quite moderately on a farm a few miles away, so it wasn’t that. But that didn’t help.
If snow happens to fall overnight, it means a surprise for her in the morning. Not that if she knew about it she would get out ofbed before nine, anyway, before which time she does not slink out of the narrow passage to her bed and stand in the minuscule open space here and give me a look and a big smile and a slow wag. A slow wag is all she can manage at that point, not just because she’s still groggy but also because her tail is not warmed up for more yet. She lines herself up and moves her paws outboard in preparation for a good shake. If the light is angled right on her, you can see an entire galaxy of dust and hair fly off and start to float around as if gravitating towards some distant black hole. Next comes her round of stretches. Not too long ago, she added a grunt to the one where she arches her back and raises her head to stretch her frontal neck muscles, the ones guarding the gullet down which she has been dreaming of stuffing mouses and jackrabbits all night. This grunt is strictly for my benefit, because she only does it if she’s caught my eye. Then she wags a couple of times and points her nose at the door to instruct me that she is ready to address the crowd of commoners that might be waiting for her to address them from her balcony, which is ready-made for her at the height the camper is off the ground when I open the door and she stands there.
If we’re not in the middle of an Arctic blast, I don’t hurry her out. She likes to stand there for about 20 seconds to make sure the many enemies she is sure she has are not lying in wait for her. First, she moves one side of her head to get one eye peeking around the corner. Then she elongates her recently stretched neck. Though this incurs the risk of moving her head overboard, it is still in a position to be retracted in case a meteor is hurtling at her or someone is waiting to ambush her by pointing a flashlight at her. No surprises have ever awaited her since I adopted her, but enough must have before that she doesn’t see the point of taking the chance. Roo is a dog of many peculiarities, and they are on display all day, every day. Most of them are cute and fun, much like Flipper the dolphin would have been if she wasn’t actually a tragic and depressed captive. With others, though, Roo can be as annoying as any dog.
Nonetheless, my love for Roo and respect for her skittishness aside, when the temperatures are as low as they are now, and opening the door means instantly dropping the interior temperature by 30 degrees that it will take 20 minutes to recover, I tell her to “Move, it, Rooki!” And, if that doesn’t work, I might even assist with a little shove.
But with the surprise snow on the ground this morning, she raised her head and perked her ears up and hopped right out. I closed the door behind her and watched from the little window. She greeted her unexpected bonanza with a few play dips and by plowing her nose under the surface. She bounded up and down in circles like a wild young pony a few times, and then then lay down in it to roll around in it and fully appreciate the luxury. It was a good morning for Roo.
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Another pitch for the Patreon campaign:
If any of you are considering getting on board the Patreon campaign, please do. Patreon is a web site where writers, artists, researchers—anyone who does something that no matter how hard they work, no matter how many thousands of words they write per day, no matter how many people visit their blog, no matter how exhausted they are rendered by being a cripple in charge of the care, feeding and lunacy of Not an Easy Dog™ — muster the support of anyone who'd like to be even a small a part of keeping it going. In this case, the writing I need to do to survive as well as this blog. A $200 yearly charge is coming up. Uploading the hat video at the top shot me over the data limit on the cell phone. I'm sure you're sick of everyone asking you to cough up all the time, but the truth is that without the goodwill of its readers, a blog like this can't survive.
You control how much support you’re giving, starting with one flat buck. Say you chip in a buck, then that’ll mean that you’re charged a buck when something is published. Not when anything is published, because there won't be one for a little picture or some short blurb. And you set your monthly limit, so if you want to keep it at a buck, then you’re never charged more than one. If you’re rolling in dough, ship some over by leaving it on for all posts. It’s up to you.
No rewards like on Kickstarter, but what you do get is access to the newly partitioned-off portion of this web site which is, from today onwards, for patrons only. Some of you have seen it already. I called it Mein Camp. I’ve added a sub-title to that: Notes from the Handbasket. I will be taking the chance on publishing deeply personal stuff there.
I have to make the page private for a variety of reasons, the main one being that I need some privacy and am not willing to share everything with everyone. You guys, yes. Some of the people I meet out in the world, no. The stuff I post there is not going to be the Roo-centric stuff. It’s going to be mostly non-dog, personal stuff. A lot of it will be about a personal struggle that's getting to be impossible by trying to stay in this insane line of work. I’ll explain more there.
Patreon is a major web site with the same credit card security as any other commerce site. Sign up is fast and it'll get the link to the hidden blog page emailed to you as soon as anything new is posted. I’m getting ready to post a lot of new stuff there within a few days, so now’s the time. If you were thinking about it but haven’t signed up, click on over now. I'm a bit worried about how personal the stuff is, but I guess that's all I have to offer. A near-death experience after getting killed in the Himalaya. Being targeted for murder by a jovial KGB agent.
That’s it for now from the frozen east Oklahoma tundra. Roo is lobbying for me to let her run around in the snow again. It’s freezing out there, and she hates to miss any chance to kill me. I have no more doubt than she does that she will eventually succeed. I’m not kidding.
About any of it.
P.S.: I’m also scrambling to finish a short book titled June Bug and the Flyer, the story about what the Wright brothers so sadly did wrong after their magnificent accomplishment of inventing the airplane. I know most of you are here for the dog stuff, but it's a pretty good yarn and this is a heads-up in the hope that you’ll all download that when it's ready. Also, to start talking you into please reviewing it on Amazon. No sales without reviews, is how it works. In the meantime, signing up for the Patreon campaign is the way you can help that book, another about Soviet espionage in my family and a memoir that is so painful to write that it will take a long time. I hate to be soliciting like this, but that's how things work these days. The job I do is as hard as any other and is done out of obsession and not being able to do anything else.
By the way, speaking of Amazon reviews, if you read the Roo book and never reviewed that, well, then it sounds like you could stand to getcha some review-writing practice. It's just shy of 500 reviews, so.... And if you haven't read it but you like reading about Roo, download the e-book or order the paperback. It's the story of how Roo came to me, the awful shape she was in and how she began to heal. It'll set you back a buck-ninety-nine.