The Halloweenie

This week’s Mammal Monday is happening a couple of days behind schedule, but it’s better late than never, so here we are. 

Monday morning liftoffs are typically the roughest launches of the week. I guess I wasn’t surprised when I bent over the tub to start my bath at shortly past seven, and the shower curtain rod fell out of nowhere directly onto my head. Mondays sometimes go that way. It wasn’t all that big a shock (even though it sucked) when I slipped in the tub and smacked my elbow and a bony part of my shoulder. 

I thought things were getting back on track when I settled onto the upstairs couch, wrapped in The Electrician’s velour housecoat because mine was still in the wash, to eat some breakfast. Just as I peeled the foil off my Greek yogurt, I heard Sherman barking rather frantically. A person knows the sound of her own dog being foolish, just the same as she knows the sound of her spouse’s voice or the opening chord of her favourite song. 

There was a problem, though: Sherman’s bark was coming from the wrong side of the dollhouse. I swivelled to look out the picture window and find my dog barking like a maniac at the neighbours’ impressive halloween display. The folks next door have a front yard full of ghoulies and ghosts, right down to a life-size coffin one of the neighbours pops out of to scare trick-or-treaters. Sherman was standing among the spookiness, barking his fool head off at all the changes since the last time he’d walked down the front street. 

Sherman is many wonderful things, but he is, unfortunately, a dog with highly unreliable recall. When he hits wide open spaces, Sherm tends to run for the hills rather than returning to his people. I think it may be his boxer genes. At any rate, I knew getting him back into the house might be easier hoped for than done. I grabbed a bag of the most tempting treats we have, slipped on the closest pair of shoes without laces, and darted down the stairs after the dog wearing a panicked look and my husband’s bathrobe. 

Sherman saw me coming, figured he would be back in custody soon and trotted off down the street, completely ignoring my whistles, calls, and kissy sounds. I shook the little bag of good treats and did my best to keep up. My biggest fear in situations where a dog gets loose, which has happened occasionally with our foster dogs, is that the pooch will dart into traffic and terrible things will happen. Luckily this Monday, Sherm stayed on the sidewalk and just made a beeline for the end of the block. 

Our luck turned when a woman walked out of her house with a miniature schnauzer wearing an ugly sweater on the end of a short leash. She tried to scoop up her little (growling) dog when she saw my butthead mutt running loose, but she relaxed when I called “He’s very friendly! He’s just being a turd this morning.” Sherman just stood there, not knowing whether to approach the smaller dog and say hello or keep moving along on his grand Monday adventure. He hesitated long enough for me to catch up with him and narrowly miss grabbing his collar before making a 180 and heading back toward the dollhouse. 

By some Monday miracle, Sherman stopped again right in front of our house. I took that opportunity to pour it on thick, shaking the treats, emphasizing how yummy the treats were, and pretending to eat said treats. For the second Monday miracle, Sherman sat for a treat the way he’s trained to do, held his sit in anticipation of the treat, and allowed me to take him by the collar back into the dollhouse. I gave him at least seven of the little morsels once he was safely back in the house. 

And so, a Monday that started out rather crappily made a complete turn around before I left for work. We also learned that Sherman is having difficulty getting into the spirit of Halloween. I hope there is no YouTube video of me wearing a man’s housecoat with pink pumps, and chasing a spotted dog on a frosty October morning. We live in dangerous times that way. 

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