If you have read my books, then you have met my cousin Daisy. She is a black Labrador retriever, and we are about the same age. She has three human brothers, but I only have one human brother, Joey.
One of the things I admire about Daisy is her very long legs that enable her to escape the confines of her yard, which she does regularly. Her human parents usually don’t know about Daisy’s escapades, but once in a while she miscalculates, and they come home to a dog-less household. A horrible thought, I know. This precipitates a search of the neighborhood.
But Daisy’s humans have not bargained with her canine cunning. Hearing her name called in the distance, Daisy takes an alternate route, sometimes from yard to yard, until she is back home. When her frantic humans return home with plans to plaster the neighborhood with posters of “Lost Dog” beneath her photo, they find her resting in the shade in a dark corner of the yard. She has mastered the “Who me?” expression (which I taught her, incidentally).
One thing Daisy and I definitely agree on is the human notion that dogs do not need lunch. Recently, Daisy was visiting while her humans were gone. “Well, Marcy Mary, what do you do with yourself all day?”
After I told her my routine, she gave a great sigh. “And they expect you to guard everything all day with no lunch?”
I nodded sadly.
“Well, if they won’t feed us lunch, let’s go find some,” Daisy said with an engaging Labrador smile.
“But how?” I responded. “We’re fenced in.”
She looked at me with a knowing smirk. “Have you ever seen a fence that could keep me in? Come on,” Daisy said as she trotted over to the gate. Getting up on her lovely long hind limbs, she easily flipped the gate latch open with her strong, pointy nose. The gate swung open. “I know where to get lunch. Follow me.”
We took off up the street, and I must say, the sense of freedom was exhilarating! When we reached the dead end, I was puzzled. “There is nothing beyond here, except chaparral.”
“I beg to differ, Marcy Mary. The drainage ditch is also here, and that leads straight to the grade school … and I just heard the lunch bell ring.”
“Ohhhhh,” I said. “I understand. But that’s Joey’s school.”
“You worry too much. We just have to be stealthy.”
In a few minutes, we were at the brush-covered fence of the schoolyard. Following Daisy, I crawled under a bush and easily slipped under a bend in the chain-link fence. As soon as we cleared the foliage, I heard a young voice shout, “That black dog is back, and it looks like she brought a wiener dog friend!”
Really? “Wiener dog”?
But I didn’t have time to react appropriately, since we were quickly surrounded by children offering us little tidbits from their lunches. Daisy had trained these kids well. I accepted slivers of meat, chips, and even a piece of apple, but that wasn’t all that great. Daisy eagerly ate everything, even a tomato. Yuck!
All was going well until a strident whistle split the air. Looking across the schoolyard, I saw a large red-faced woman rapidly heading our way who was stuffed into navy-blue trousers and a white polo shirt. The whistle, which she kept tooting, was in her mouth. She looked like The Little Engine That Could … or maybe not.
“Time to go,” Daisy said nonchalantly.
We trotted over to the bushes by the fence, disappeared into the branches, slipped under the fence, and headed back up the drainage ditch. We were soon back at our gate. I pushed it shut, and Daisy closed the latch. Soon, we were in our beds on guard duty.
That evening, Daisy and I were in Joey’s room when he stared at us and said, “I thought I saw you guys at school today.”
I looked at Daisy, and she looked at me. We both gave Joey the “Who me?” expression.
After a few seconds, he said, “Well, maybe it wasn’t you. I mean, how could you open the gate?”