July 10, 2010

Mika’s Escapades



      My restaurant leftover doggy bag meal went to the dog—literally.

     The July 6th evening was just cool enough to sit on the patio, where I was enjoying leftover spaghetti and meatballs from the previous night’s dinner at a local restaurant—a two-for-one deal where only half the spaghetti was sufficient for me, so I made two meals out of the serving, making it a three-for-one deal.

Ummm...ummm good! People food is GREAT!

     My neighbor’s dog, Mika, was lounging on my porch, subtly eyeing me while I ate. I was ignoring her.

     The phone rang. My husband asked me to check on something, so I stepped into the house for a moment. Just for a moment. And a moment is all it took.

     I heard the crash, And I knew what happened. My supper was gone!    

     To the dog!

     Scram! Go home! I yelled at the dog. She crept off the patio onto the grass. Then I saw the mess on the porch, and meekly said: Don’t go home. Get over here! You might as well clean up this mess! She didn’t need any urging to do so.

     My husband said it was his fault. If he hadn’t called, it wouldn’t have happened.

    True. But, I told him, if the dog wasn’t here, it also wouldn’t have happened. Or if I had carried my plate inside, it wouldn’t have happened. After all, I knew that Mika would grab any food. It was just a combination of circumstances that lead to the event.

     When I told my neighbor, he offered me a ham and cheese sandwich, or said he would grill something…not necessary. I’d already eaten.


     Mika is a large Alaskan malamute dog who enjoys the shade under our apple tree, our rhododendrum bush, or our patio. She trots over to our patio when she hears the squeak of the screen door. She also trots over, if she isn’t already here, when we pull in our driveway. Several times she’s tried to get into our car as we’ve exited, her mournful brown eyes begging us to take her for a ride.

     This dog with her gentle nature is our way of having a pet without the responsibility. This is not the time for us to have an animal—my husband is retired and we want to be free to travel, unencumbered with wondering how to care for a pet while we’re not home.

     This was Mika’s third event on our property. I’d informed my neighbors that when she reached this landmark, I would write about her.


     A couple of weeks ago, Mika was barking up a tree beside our garage.

     She was also standing on her hind legs, pawing as far north on the tree as she could reach. I went out and discovered she had treed a gray cat belonging to another neighbor. The cat was sitting in the crook of a branch, carefully watching Mika’s every move.

     Mika was persistent—the cat was patient, waiting for a moment to escape as Mika circled the tree, looked up and barked, and then stood on her hind legs and pawed the tree, probably thinking if she worked hard enough she could climb it. But she just couldn’t get that cat.

     My neighbor arrived with a leash, and literally had to pull the weight of this dog over our driveway to her home. Meanwhile, the cat saw her window of opportunity and jumped onto our garage room, ran to the opposite side, jumped to the ground and disappeared.


     While I was sitting out on my porch I saw Mika beside my garden, which is “walled off” with deer netting. She seemed to be pawing at something. Periodically, she’d back off and bark.

     I wandered over to her and saw a curled up snake, white belly facing skyward. Mika would alternatively paw the snake gently, bark at it, and walk a little ways off for a rest. The snake didn’t move. I figured it was dead. I kept my distance anyway.

     Mika’s owners weren’t home. Neither was my husband, or any of the other neighbors. I walked to a Daneen’s house, a block away. She was sitting on her porch, so I asked her if I could “borrow” her husband. He found a stick and came on down.

     He poked at the snake with the stick, eventually detecting movement. He said it was a black snake, that they do get that big. As he probed, he discovered that the snake’s head was caught in the deer fence. The only way it would be released would be to cut the fence netting.

     I handed him a pair of scissors, and said feel free, cut as much as you need. A free snake is not a dead snake, and therefore will not rot and stink, spreading its putrid after-death odor around my house.

     Harold stretched the snake out—it must have been five foot long. He snipped at the netting until the critter became free. It curled up for a minute before slithering off into the woods to recuperate.


     Mika’s brought joy, humor, adventures add to the ambience of my corner of our little community, Laurel Mountain Borough, Pennsylvania. Perhaps some day we will adopt a pet. But for now, we will enjoy our pets vicariously, without the burden of food, shelter, vet bills, or having to figure out how to care for a pet while we are away from home.





 The “Meow” Chorus: A cat symphony on a Greyhound Bus





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