My mind always awakens with the life around me, but this morning it was too early. It was dark, cool and completely silent as I cut across the parking lot towards the field behind the hotel.
Heavy, sleepy steps, pattering toenails, excited breaths.
Shoulder muscles bunched, pulling hard, Lulu eagerly dragged me forward, fueled by the joy of her walk.
Motion stopped, all muscles tensed, quivering. Lulu slowly leaned forward, and I crouched in anticipation of the explosion. Squinting into the darkness, there was a place where the blackness grew inky, muffled and darker, the edges fuzzy.
“Damn cat,” I murmured. “It is too early for animal drama.” I said in a low voice.
Attack pending, the small, muscular dog leaned forward with all limbs completely extended, nostrils flaring. I crept slowly past the coiled canine, wondering why the cat had not streaked away. Was it….
A roar, and a streak of white! Thirty-five pounds of muscle had been launched! Houston, Lulu has left the building.
White and black mixed and raged! Lulu turned and whirled, shaking her prize like a lifeless rag as she sprinted towards me in triumph!
The sudden odor triggered my gag reflex, and I felt the spray coat my bare legs. The skunk’s attempt at direction, with it’s arsenal, was thwarted by Lulu’s fierce shaking. There was just spray and stink everywhere.
Fight or flight battled.
Skunks could have rabies, and fangs, and claws, and, and…..
Where was the stripe?
How long could it possibly spray?
Was anybody watching this?
“Leave it!” “Leave it!” “Leave it!” My screams fell on deaf ears – the command learned days earlier, already forgotten.
“LET IT GO!” I yelled as I gripped both sides of her neck and shook hard, the breath to yell resulting in gagging, spitting and coughing. Startled, Lulu dropped the vile animal, and stood silent, undecided – she was in the zone. Instinct dominated, and she hurtled after the animal, but I had already lunged in the opposite direction.
The leash snapped tight, and Lu flew backwards, as I leaned forward. A taste of her own medicine. Bewildered and confused – bucking and lunging. Couldn’t I see the hard fought prey was escaping?!
Light’s snapped on, shades rose, silhouettes outlined in the windows. Adrenaline fueled anger as we swept through the door, headed for our room.
Locking the door, I turned to see Lu rolling on the carpet, delighting in her stench. Furiously, I lifted the dog from the floor, took five strides into the bathroom, and unceremoniously dumped her in the tub.
The small face turned towards me in shock, and I watched as the joyous light drained from her eyes. She smelled my fury and crouched low, shaking hard. I wilted suddenly….”no, no, no,” I said urgently. Nothing had ever so completely doused my anger as the look of terror on this small dog’s face.
I knelt in the tub with her and washed her slowly, watching the tremors slow – fear of me, the water, more new things in her young life. I shook my head and sighed. It really was futile to try and fight thousands of years of development.
Once again, we would provide fodder for the work place.