Fleeing the heat and power outage in Washington DC, we threw our belongings into the car, and headed north to our lake-side cottage in the New Jersey Highlands. Although we arrived late at night, I knew my whereabouts, so familiar were the smells of the forest and the croaking of the frogs. All night long I paced from window to window, anticipating what the morning would bring.
At long last, the sun peeked over Sparta Mountain, slowly encroaching on the dark. I watched as it mounted higher and higher in the sky, casting a delicate glow across the lake. This was my cue. Out the door I raced to meet up with my friends Atticus and Lucy, who live next door, on the far side of the cove in the house on the hill.
But, whoa, what should I encounter there instead–a junior black bear meandering down to the water’s edge in search of a cool drink. Although I am part Plott Hound, bred to hunt bear and wild boar, I grasped the opportunity to retreat upon hearing my Mistress’s entreating call. The bear appeared to welcome the intervention as well, as he sauntered, as if he had no cares in the world, back the way he had come.
With safe passage assured, I scooted up the hill, there to be greeted by my friends, Atticus and Lucy. Atticus is a handsome dude, with enough character and charm to land him a spot in a Walt Disney movie. Lucy is much more reticent, but her urge to play overcomes her shyness. Rescued from the same part of North Carolina that I was, she is my look-a-like from head to toe.
That’s just the beginning of my day.
Life, here, is so full, it seems that the days of summer are flying by. Just imagine my routine.After breakfast, I accompany my Master and Mistress on their daily walk to the end of the road, where I encounter my other friend, the English Retriever Martha (Mudwallow)–so named because she loves to wallow in the mud.
Eager to play, Martha brings me a stick, which we snatch from one another as we race together down the road. Then, back home, we play a game of peek-a-boo, each of us trying to surprise the other as we sneak around and around the car. Then, to cool off, we dive into the lake, where we swim and nose around in the shallows.
Later in the day I might romp again with Atticus and Lucy, as they take off into the woods in hot pursuit of the local critters of which there are a number– few–bears, coyotes, deer, chipmunk, otter, ground hogs, and a stray cat or two. When the dogs aren’t around, I play with the children. who are most accommodating. Sometimes we pretend we are pirates aboard a ship (a large fallen tree) lodged in the cove. Other times, I swim along as they paddle out to the island, where they play other delightful fantasy games.
By evening time, I am all tuckered out. As a finale, I enjoy the snacks during cocktail hour, and try to make out the grownup conversations, but then, as the the witching hour arrives, and the sky turns pink, I can do no more. As I succumb to the call of the katydids and the trumpeting of the frogs. I close my eyes and happily remind myself that I live the life of a dog.