Stroking her soft blond hair, she looks into my soul with pooled brown eyes – shutters of light to bring the world inside but never allowing the inner animal of her soul to be seen by me. We live together, spending hours in each other’s company, stepping toward and away from one another’s moods, and yet I know so little about her.
Take this morning for example. She stood in the yard with nothing on, looking at me while I gazed upon her. Then, in the thicket of tangled wooded property fifteen yards behind her, there was movement. A half dozen deer with flames of white pointing skyward off their rear ends silently pranced through the trees. It was astounding how closely the color of their winter coats mirrored the bark of the barren trees, and yet I could see them slicing through the thicket. She did not. She stood there staring at me in a full frontal stance that she knows provokes me. The deer froze, all but disappearing among the vertical stand of trees except for the twitching of white tails. I laughed. She stood there naked in the snow, cocked her head to understand my amusement. I saw the rounded muscles of her gluteal twitch ever so slightly.
“If she knew those deer were there,” I heard myself wondering, “would she chase after them?” Dare I throw the orange ball in my hand toward the woods where she would surely discover their presence and then the chase would be on? Or not. Maybe she would not chase them. In Vermont, out in the open lawns around the house, she froze at the presence of deer. She never showed the proclivity to chase them, more fear. But if she now got in touch with her inner predator I might lose her to the chase. Perhaps I should call her in and put the leash on now and not risk it. Aw, what the heck. I threw the ball right toward the trees behind where the deer stood watching.
She ran to the ball, beating it with her speed and grabbing it in her mouth before it stopped rolling in the snow. Dutifully, although always with a certain loss of pride, she returned the ball to me as deer tails fluttered like flags in the woods. “But you’re a dog, you idiot,” I exclaimed. “You hear and smell things I never could, and you don’t know there are six deer in the woods right over there?” She happily turned her head toward where I was pointing and wagged her tail. “Oh for goodness sake, come on, let’s get breakfast.”