See this face?
It’s a cute face, right? It is an innocent, adorable, sweet face. This is the dog who lets us hug her for hours and actually leans into it. This is the dog who refuses to take food out of your hand unless you assure her that you really don’t want it. This is a dog that allows kittens to climb through her fur and hitch rides on her back.
But also, apparently, Gabby the Dog has been hiding an entire other side of herself and she is a killer. Not just a hornet killer. She’s really good at swallowing hornets and wasps whole.
She is a skunk killer.
We let her and Sparty Dog (our non killer, not even hornets) outside to the backyard before bed. The yard is fenced. She rushed out, running full-tilt, which is hard for her because:
- She is old.
- She was abused and starved as a puppy and her muscular system and skeletal structure didn’t form correctly do to lack of nutrition and also being tied to a tree in Alabama all day, every day.
But according to He Who Let Her Out, she sprinted, silently to the back corner of the yard where the fence meets the shed.
A Smell Happens
I was at my desk making my to-do list for the next day when I smelled burning.
I jumped up and flipped my laptop over because I’m super paranoid about laptops catching on fire.
It was not my laptop.
“Do you smell burning?” I yelled to Shaun aka the bodyguard aka Person Who Let The Dogs Into The Yard.
“No. I don’t smell any–“
“SKUNK!” I screamed, slamming shut the windows. “Dear God, did you let the dogs out there? Oh no! Oh no!”
Gabby has had a skunk encounter before. She chased it out of the yard and it slid under the gate but first shot its odoriferous defense system straight into her muzzle. It took a lot to make her smell good after that. I did not want a repeat of that event.
But instead, instead…
The Scene Evolves INTO POOPY BUSINESS
We ran to the back mudroom door, flung it open. In the middle of the yard was Sparty the Non Killing Dog doing his poopy business. He was walking across the yard while he did this, head down, doggy posture looking ashamed/horrified and definitely not making any eye contact with us or Gabby the Dog in the back corner.
“Sparty! In here now!” I yelled.
Sparty is a perfect dog and scampered in. I shut us in the mud room. Smelled him. He was good to go.
“You are the best dog ever,” I told him.
He agreed and went into the living room to jump on the couch and wait out the drama.
WHO EVEN IS THIS KILLER?
Meanwhile, Shaun was still out on the back stoop staring into the darkness that is our yard. I could just barely see the white form of Gabby in the corner. She was doing that dog thing she does with her toys where she flails her head rapidly back and forth. Something was in her mouth. That something was not her favorite froggy toy.
“Sweet mother of all things holy,” I whispered. “Is she playing with the skunk?”
“No,” Shaun said. “No, she has killed the skunk and is apparently making sure it’s really dead.”
I gasped. “My baby’s not a killer.”
Shaun said, “Honey, your baby is definitely a killer.”
He had to turn on the hose to get her to drop it. Gabby is a Pyr, not a retriever, not a hunter. And though she knows the command “Drop it,” her stubborn Pyr genes were in full effect.
I brought her in the mudroom expecting to see blood and skunk bits. And I cleaned her. There was no blood and she somehow only had skunk smell in her mouth and on her right paw.
“Who even are you?” I asked.
She wagged her tail and breathed skunk smell on me. I managed to not die, too.
What Does This All Mean?
But that’s not why I’m writing about this whole horrific event. I’m writing about it because Gabby reminded me that we never know exactly what other people (or dogs) are capable of. We never know exactly what we are capable of either.
We think we know how we’d react in certain situations, often imagine ourselves the hero of our own stories and other people’s stories, but we have different sides, instincts that sometimes turn into actions and words that we never thought we’d do or save. And that holds true for the people and dogs we love, too.
Gabby reminded me that while I might think of her as a skunk killer now, she thinks she was protecting Sparty and our house. She reminded me that we don’t all have the same motivations and intentions and no matter how much we think we understand people and dogs and ourselves? Well, sometimes surprises happen.
And that’s okay.
WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.
Join the 249,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.
Last week’s episode link! It’s about dirty feet and archetypes. Sexy!
Last week’s bonus podcast with writer Holly Schindler!
This week’s link to Ronni’s interview.
COME WRITE WITH ME!
I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here.
NEW BOOK OF AWESOME- THE PLACES WE HIDE
I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should.
And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter!
And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.
NEW SESSION OF WRITE! SUBMIT! SUPPORT!
These six-month courses offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions. We offer support whether you’re submitting to agents or, if agented, you’re weathering submissions to editors. We discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, the feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more.
|Find out if WSS is right for you at this FREE WEBINAR on Thursday July 23rd, from 7-8:30pm CDT.Founder Bethany Hegedus will share an inspiring talk on the literary life and will be joined by WSS instructors/TA’s, plus past and present WSS writers who will answer all your burning questions!|
This is a great opportunity to meet this session’s faculty, talk with previous students about their growth throughout the program and participate in some inspirational activities led by Bethany Hegedus. *If you cannot attend live, no need to worry! All registrants will receive a video playback of the event!