Unbelievable is the word I have been using to describe the story I am about to tell. There is another word that fits this event even better – but if I told you that word right now, it would ruin part of the story. So let me stick with “unbelievable” for a minute. Over the years there have been some things I’ve written about on this blog that would have been hard for me to believe if I hadn’t experienced them personally. In fact, during the telling of a couple of these stories I’ve wondered if there might be folks out there who said to themselves – “Seriously? Does she really think we believe that?” I told the stories anyway because I write about what happens in my life. The stories are always true. They are always my personal experiences. One year there was the pumpkin that sat on my front deck and slowly revealed a face. That was easy to prove – I had the picture! Then there was the story of Silly Whim (from my book) that was hard for me to believe even though I was there. And about a year ago, there was the story of my Evergreen (Evers) who ended up in my yard like he’d been delivered there by angels. (three-part story starts here)
Well, last Wednesday produced this type of event. Here’s how my day started.
The cathouse is about 300 feet from the back door of my house. Just outside that door is the fenced-in area for my own dogs. I let them out each morning and head to the kennel. I was actually washing doggie dishes at the kennel when I heard my Miracle barking a bark I only hear when something is up. I went out the side door of my kennel and looked towards the house and Miracle. She was staring towards the “shelter area” which is where Muffin and Mandy stay during part of each day. There is a line of blackberry bushes between where Miracle is and the “shelter area.” Rabbits dart in and out underneath those bushes all summer long. I guessed she was watching a rabbit but I knew she’d seen plenty of those many other times without becoming this excited. I went back to washing dishes. But her bark became frantic. So I stepped out the front door of the kennel this time and looked towards the blackberry bushes and beyond that to Muffin and Mandy. Muffin and Mandy were staring back in the direction of Miracle. So. There must be something of interest between Miracle and Muffin & Mandy.
I decided to walk in the direction of the bushes to see what could have three of my dogs this concerned. There is a gravel walkway from the front door of the kennel straight to the “shelter area.” Walking away from the kennel on this path, the blackberry bushes are on the right and the cathouse is on the left. To go into the cathouse you step off the gravel path and onto the Winnie’s Wish brick Walkway which you are all familiar with.
I was walking very slowly and quietly down the gravel path hoping to see whatever might be in those bushes that had my dogs on point. I knew it surely must be a rabbit, but why so much concern today as opposed to any other day. Maybe it was a snake. Unlikely since Miracle was the most concerned and she was too far away to see a snake. Maybe I had a possum or a skunk or something other than a rabbit. I was practically tip-toeing down the gravel path, slowly approaching the blackberry bushes. As I ever so slowly got closer and closer, I was scanning the base of the bushes for anything unusual. Miracle was still barking, frantically, from behind me. Muffin and Mandy had stopped moving and were staring directly at me now, clearly hoping I would do something about whatever it was they had experienced.
But there was nothing. Maybe whatever it was had already moved on. There is a dense woods that meets our property on the west side. In fact, this woods begins only a few feet from the back side of the kennel and cathouse. We call it the West Woods and always have. When the girls were little, we’d take Winter walks in the West Woods. Years ago, we braved the Springtime ticks and snakes to go mushroom hunting in these woods a few times. In the Summer these West Woods are so thick that you can’t see into them at all. I know that throughout the year, these woods provide entertainment for the kennel dogs and the cathouse cats. The dog runs face these woods. And both of the enclosed cathouse decks face west as well. Birds and squirrels and rabbits, along with deer and opposums and skunks – plenty to watch no matter the season. But I digress . . .
Just as I was thinking that whatever caused this disturbance must be long gone by now, my peripheral vision caught something to my left. It felt like my head turned toward the cathouse in slow motion. And suddenly I was staring at one of my Winnie’s Wishers – NOT in the cathouse. OUTSIDE! Looking up at me from under the step at the front door was a tabby face. My mind was screaming too many things at once – Who is this? tabby, let me think. Toast, Slate, Sienna. Don’t move too quickly. How many more are out? What happened? Did they push a fan out of a window and tear through the window screen? Have I lost them all? The West Woods! I’ll NEVER get them back. Stop. Think. Try to coax this one towards you. Don’t lunge. Don’t lose this one . . .