all creatures great and small

Sometimes I think, Huh, nothing odd has happened to me lately. Which is, of course, a dangerous thought, but I think it anyway. Because if odd happenstances don’t occur in my life, what am I going to write about?

Don’t worry. Odd things have happened.

For one thing, there are at least seven deer who reside in our neighborhood. Three of them like to hang out in our yard at night, especially when I’m coming home in the dark. Not when my husband’s home, though. They like to make me look like an idiot, talking about the deer that keep hanging around while my husband looks outside and goes “uh-huh, and what did these deer look like?”

Thanks a lot, deeries. I may not have known what a groundhog looked like, but I know deer, okay? I watched Bambi.

Thankfully, though, when my husband and I went on a late-night walk, I was able to point them out. Three here, seven there. I think I might be the victim of deer-stalking. (And speaking of groups of deer, what are they called? Herd seems too cattle-like. I keep referring to them as a gang. I’m such a city girl.)

They only run away when my husband is with me. When I’m by myself, even when I’m in my car, they just look at me like “hey, what’s up?” Eventually, they skulk away but in a way that makes me think they’re not afraid of me at all. Like what, I’m not some scary, intimidating human? (No, no I’m really not. But sometimes I wish I were. I do, however, carry pepper spray. So be afraid.)

As if the deer-stalking weren’t bad enough, I had another animal encounter yesterday. I had just gotten home from a grocery run. I carried a few bags into the house and then went to get the mail. On my way back, I saw a dog wandering up our shared driveway. My first thought was to avoid him. Unknown dog, scary! It’s like that childhood lesson about not talking to strangers. Don’t touch lost dogs!

But then I reminded myself I’m an adult now (and have been for nearly a decade), so I walked casually toward the garage and murmured “hey buddy.” He got happy and started to follow me, which of course freaked me out a little so I mumbled “Oh sorry, no no. Don’t follow me.” and shut the garage door before I had to figure out how to get a dog out of the garage.

Once I got in the house with the last of the groceries, I thought Who do you call about a lost dog? The HOA? 

If I had known where he belonged, I could have just walked him back. As I peered out the front door and watched him rolling around in our grass, I noticed he had a dog tag. (Oh right! People put tags on their animals. What can I say? I’ve never had a dog. I’ve always been a cat person.)

Armed with courage and the desire to save a pet from the dangers of our quiet, suburban neighborhood, I ventured outside. When he heard the door, he jumped up and scampered across the shared driveway, so I stood across from him and talked quietly.

“Hey buddy, it’s okay.”

He just looked at me. So I squatted down. No animal can resist me when I’m at their eye level.

He inched toward me and I held out my hand, hoping I’d get it back without any holes. He sniffed, and I petted his head. Apparently he approved. I slowly slid his dog tag around. It told me his name was Toby. Still stroking his head so he wouldn’t wander off, I called the first number. No answer. Good thing there were two other numbers. The second number I tried was successful.

I felt like I was calling for a ransom. “Um, hi… I think I have your dog, Toby.” And if you want to see him again…

Bottom line is, Toby got home safely, and I met a super-sweet, quiet, and non-stinky dog who likes having his ears rubbed. If all dogs were like Toby, I might be more of a dog person. (Although, let’s be honest–cats will always be smarter than dogs.)

I don’t know what it is with me and animals. They’ve always liked me (even the ones I’m not thrilled about), but this is a new level. I’m beginning to feel like some sort of Disney princess. Next thing you know, I’ll be frolicking through meadows wearing a froo-froo dress and singing to birds. (Dear heavens, no. Someone please end my suffering if that happens.)



  1. Beth Pensinger
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 14:42:30

    You should’ve gotten a ransom for Toby! You could’ve asked for unmarked bills then given them your address. 🙂
    If you do end up becoming a frolicking maiden, take comfort in the fact that the birds can help you clean house…


    • halee
      Oct 16, 2012 @ 21:31:38

      Right? Didn’t think fast enough, I guess. And if only I could lasso those birds into housework now…


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