Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Edward, the Innocent, was out this morning making sure the forest floor was safe from squirrels while we were hiking trails. Rocketing here and there, up the hill and down, he reveled in being off-leash. Good boy that he is – REALLY good boy – he responded quickly to our sharp lip whistle, meaning “Edward, come here!” by racing down a hillside to our point on the trail.
Perhaps eighty years ago, someone settling the land constructed a hog wire fence using both posts (now gone) and existing madrone and oaks for stanchions. They’re all over the place in these parts. The tree Edward attempted to fly by had been one selected for post duty. The fence fabric to his left was still affixed to the trunk. To his right, somehow it was gone – knocked down or rusted through. At speed and in the muted darkness of the early morning forest floor, how could he tell? He guessed wrong – as if there was anything to guess. He was simply responding to his masters’ call. (He’s SUCH a good boy.)
The startled shriek of our beloved lab-mix is something we’ve always feared. In his dog'zuberance, we harbor worries of crossing paths with a bobcat, a cougar, a bear or a snake. But that joyful dog'zuberance is what makes Edward Edward.
He must have run head long into the eighty-year-old fence going full tilt. His yip was involuntary and it echoed through the woods, rattling us to our bones. By the time we could spot him, maybe twenty feet away, he was righting himself, shaking the bumble bees loose from his cranium, and ambling toward our spot on the trail.
After some love and an inspection, he proved to be fine, ready to continue on his quest. Had he been a player in the NFL, we’da needed to bench him for week or two. But, with the possible exception of the New York Jets and maybe the Cleveland Browns, there are no dogs in the NFL. And while I would likely have needed an airlift off the mountain after such an impact, Edward resumed his mission this day, albeit a bit slower than before.