Roo committed what might be her greatest act of perfidy yet.

If this was a normal dog, one might think they were trying to avoid the authorities after committing some sort of crime, but, this being Roo, it’s not. She’s just trying to understand the elusive tadmouse better by trying to get into their heads by mimicking the way they lie in the sun among the pine needles under the surface of shallow water in the tadmouse pond. She probably also suspects thunderstorms brewing thousands of miles away in Oklahoma or Louisiana.

If you haven’t seen the two-part public service announcements from TDITC concerning tadmouse hunting and the disease that results from it, go to the home page and scroll down. Tadmouse season, with my eternal thanks to God, seems to have ended. Either they’ve all morphed into frogs and hopped away or some humanitarian organization arranged for a daring overnight airlift for then to safer, Roo-free, waters. 

There being no tadmouses means nothing to Roo, of course. They could just be doing a better job of hiding in response to her raids. She prowls the water with every bit as much obsession as she did when they were darting around in plain sight. For one thing, she has never smelled a tadmouse. No one has. By lurking exclusively underwater, their defense against being smelled is total. This would naturally make Roo question her sanity. Is there such a thing as a tadmouse? Has there ever been? Was her mind playing tricks on her? Perhaps they were nothing but a hallucination. Anyone who has experienced prolonged involuntary hallucinations knows how powerful the resulting desire to maintain a grip on reality is. I certainly do.

So she prowls the tadmouse sea relentlessly. Today, she stopped and came out of the water and stood on the bank with a forepaw raised in her signal to her footman to come and remove a thorn or whatever might be bothering her. This time, there was nothing to remove: She had a gash in one of her footpads.

There was nothing I could do. We had a 15-minute walk ahead of us and she was going to have to tough it out. Roo is a tough dog. She soldiered on.

After we got back and she enjoyed a nice cold garden hose shower and the extensive brushing necessary to remove hundreds of the pernicious rotting brambles tangled up in her fur, she went to sleep.

Because Roo prefers holding it in all night to risking emerging in the dark for a pee, lest whoever she imagines her predator to be makes a tadmouse of her, I try to drag her out for a walk before sunset. I would have preferred to keep her off her paw, but that would have meant about 20 hours without peeing. Instead, I bandaged her paw.

She acted like she was the victim of one of those vivisections in one of those old paintings of a medieval medical college. She snatched her paw away from me and made it as difficult as she could. When the bandage was finally on, she refused, on principle, to put her paw on the ground. The farthest she would go was to extend the entire leg as far from her as possible with only the tips of the claws on the ground. She looked like she was doing a vaudeville act of herself. 

After a little coaxing, she forgot about it and agreed to walk. It was fine. It wasn’t bothering her at all. We walked in some nearby woods. A few minutes later, we arrived at a clearing. A woman was tossing a ball for an energetic little dog who was barking his head off. Between us and them were some bushes. Roo took off at top speed in their direction, but then made a sudden swerve into the bushes. In one motion, she lay down, looked in my direction to make sure she had me outdistanced with the look you see on the faces of security camera footage of stickup artists on the way in to rob a Circle K, tore the bandage off and continued running towards the dog.

What a sneak. She must have been waiting for her opportunity since the moment I wrapped the bandage on. She didn’t even care about the little dog. He was just an excuse. As soon as I called her back, she ran right over with a huge grin on her face and a low, prideful wag. Oh, she was proud. Ha ha ha.

Even though the paw now hurt and she had to limp home, it was worth it to her. Her dignity had been restored, elevated, even. Footwear? Please. A human conceit.

Tomorrow I am going to have to put up with being stared at all day, because it is doubtful that this sneak is going to get out of solitary and back out into general population in the tadmouse pond.

*          *          *

By the way, I noticed that at least one of you — you know who you are — hasn't joined our Patreon campaign. Everything will be forgiven if you do right now. If this was a cup of coffee you'd leave a tip wouldn't you?