Can't Get Here From There
We had a little adventure in the wee hours and are waiting for first light to show what last night's storm left us. For certain, our heavy board across the creek is no longer there. How the dog got across the raging muddy water the first time is still a mystery.
"The dog wants out" she said, knowing it takes the least provocation to wake me from even the deepest sleep.
Tsuga stood beside the bed with is muzzle just inches from my face when I opened my eyes in the room lit only by the battery-powered Christmas candle that flickered in our window. And I rolled over, pretending it was a bad dream. The dog was wagging his tail--a sure sign he didn't have a full bladder. If he has to pee, he gets up from his bed in our bedroom and silently goes and stands by the back door. Somehow, I hear even this. No, he was up to no good and I could ignore him. But I couldn't ignore her.
Because it was raining at dusk, she hadn't taken him out that last usual time, and now felt guilty. "He really needs to go out now" she prodded both verbally and against my back, pushing me to toward the wet nose resting on the bed. I got up, grumbling. And against my better judgement, I opened the back door, letting in a rush of wet, cool air. And as I had expected, the dog's attention was not on the closest patch of grass but over in the pasture. I called him back, futilely, as he gained momentum moving out of the porch light and into the darkness.
By the time I got to the front porch and turned on the floods and grabbed the spotlight, he was in the pasture doing his deer run, back and forth, looking south towards the woods along Nameless Creek. I whistled and hooted, and finally after Ann got up to 'help' the dog's attention turned to coming home. We didn't know how he had gotten across the swollen creek the first time, but it was plain to him and to us that getting back was going to be a problem. The board bridge was gone. (We'll have to go searching downstream for it later today.) And between the dog and the house, the stream was 15 feet across, several feet deep and turbulent as a mining sluice.
We followed Tsuga with the light as he ran first here then there testing the waters and gauging his ability to cross. Both his and our anxiety rose as the rains fell harder and the pitch of the roar rose, roiling and angry. Should I go throw him a rope and hope he'd seen the Lassie episode where she held on while her rescuers pulled her to safety? Should I tie myself to a tree and try to stand midstream and grab him by the collar as he came speeding past, a squirming mass of furry flotsam?
He disappeared from the beam of the spotlight, running away from us. Where could he be going? But it was the smartest thing he could have done, though I wondered even there if he could make it all the way across. He went to the widest place, by the barn, where I drive across in the truck. The water was well up his torso and he cut a diagonal downstream as the swift current swept him partially off course. But he made it, and from there, ran as fast as he could back to the house, obviously having had the adventure his wagging tail had warned me of just ten minutes earlier.
It took three towels to dry him off. He slept through the night soundly. We had dreams of being swept to sea with barn yard animals bobbing in the muddy waters while a white dog stood on the banks, anxiously, trying to save us.