The Adventures of Apple

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Adventures of Apple

Although they look enough alike to be frequently mistaken for brother and sister, Edward and Apple are not related and are, in fact, quite different.  Edward’s tail curls up over his back and wags like a spinning top.  Apple’s tail is feathery, not unlike the tail of a Briard, a bit of which we suspect might be included in the potpourri of her lineage.  It gracefully swoops out behind her and she wags it theatrically, like a parade flag.  At dinnertime, Edward stretches out to wait on the kitchen floor, dignified and calm, while Apple sits directly beside the stove, as close to me as possible, following my every move with barely contained joy and behaving for all the world as though she hasn’t eaten in weeks. Edward saunters along by my side on walks, frequently stopping to sniff a flower or consider a vista.  From the moment we step out the door Apple tugs on her lead like a fireman en route to a fire.

Whenever we are out for a drive, Edward sits in the backseat like a gentleman, only occasionally putting his nose close to the edge of the window to investigate the scents flying past.  Apple hangs out the other side as far as she can, convinced, I am sure, that she’s flying. In the mornings, Apple follows The Songwriter out to the studio to spend the day on his screened porch under the ceiling fan.  Edward stays with me.

Apple hides behind Edward if something truly frightens her and she’ll always step back to let him enter or leave the house first in a display of canine deference that never fails to make me smile.  And while the two of them are less than thrilled that the evolutionary process has granted passage to both the chipmunk and the squirrel, only Apple finds this fact unbearable enough to follow these creatures to the ends of the earth in her efforts to eradicate them from the planet. 
  To this end,  Apple can sometimes be found frozen over a chipmunk hole in the garden with her furry head completely underground, looking for all the world as though she’s been cleanly decapitated in the midst of a hydrangea bush.  You may stand right above her and call her name as loudly as you might, she’ll never respond.  In fact, her focus is such, I doubt she even hears you.  The Songwriter has learned not to waste his breath in the trying; he simply pulls her out - her head making a vacuum popping sound as it dislodges - and carries her inside, a rather heroic feat, for she is not a small dog.  Needless to say, she gets more baths than Edward, who usually regards her exploits with bemusement.
For the past several nights we have suspected an unusual creature might have added our back garden to his midnight ramble route, for Apple has been more and more difficult to round up at bedtime.  Both she and Edward usually go out for awhile before bed and both generally come back in after a few minutes, pushing open the back door with a paw and heading straight for their beds.  Last evening, however, this well-worn routine veered off course with a bang. 

While turning back the bed and drawing the curtains, I heard the back door fly open with a crash.  Looking up, I saw Edward running down the hall, taking the stair into the bedroom with a leap and stopping, out of breath and furrowed of brow, to sit at my feet.  I could feel his frustration over his lack of language; it was palpable.  But he didn’t need speech.  I could easily imagine the conversation that had just taken place in the far back garden, under a hemlock tree to be precise.  
Edward:  “Sister, leave that thing alone! 
 He’s too big for you and he’s dangerous besides.  
Don’t you hear him hissing?
Apple:  nothing
Edward:  “I mean it, Sister.  If you don’t leave it alone and come back inside with me right this minute, I’m gonna tell!”
Apple:  nothing
Edward:  “Here I go!  Last chance, Sister!  Okay? 
 Okay.  I’m gonna go tell!”
It wasn’t hard to ascertain the meaning of Edward’s breathless stare, particularly as he’d come in without her, so The Songwriter grabbed a light and headed out to find the indefatigable Apple.  Sure enough, exactly as Edward was attempting to explain, she had indeed bitten off a bit more than was advisable, as she had a rather large, rather upset, opossum cornered just this side of the fence.  The creature, never the most attractive member of the marsupial family, was bare-toothed and hissing like a cobra.  Edward and I sat side by side in the bedroom windowseat - his heart beating fast and me silently wondering how difficult it would be to reach our vet after midnight - as we waited to see what would happen next. 
 Soon, through the shadows of the poplar trees, we could just make out the figure of The Songwriter coming down the stone pathway.  He had a huge mass of black dog slung over his shoulder and although he, too, was out of breath, unlike Edward, his power of speech was working most efficiently. 

Apple will be taking her midnight ramble with supervision from now on.
Oh and yes, she is fine.