Our next-door neighbors have a golden retriever named Missy (which is kind of funny, since if I recall correctly, my grandparents used to have a golden retriever named Missy too). Historically I don’t like dogs, largely because my father let his two black labs (and the half-great Dane that he eventually got) run roughshod with no training. It’s no fun being five feet tall and having a dog jump up with his forepaws on your shoulders, taller than you are and definitely heavier, when you know darn well he’s just as likely to knock you over as not.
However, our neighbor’s Missy and I have gotten along ever since we first met, for certain definitions of getting along. She came bounding out of their backyard, and with uncharacteristic confidence I turned, looked her in the eye, and said, “go home, kiddo.” She turned around and went right back to her yard. Since then she has never again come running at me, and she also no longer leaves their yard; I think they now have her trained not to, even if the gate is open.
There’s also a gray and white cat that roams our neighborhood. He’s obviously someone’s pet; he’s clean and collared. He really loves our house, though, and particularly enjoys sitting outside our windows taunting Selene. Cahlash couldn’t care less whether there’s a cat in our yard, but Selene—oh, our tiny, seven-pound terror would rip that cat’s heart out if she could just get to him, and she lets us know that in no uncertain terms. When he goes round the house’s corner she tries to follow him, but she hasn’t yet figured out that the glass doors to the fireplace aren’t a window, so she stares in vain for him to appear.
This morning I went out to rotate the tumbling composter. Missy was in the neighbors’ backyard, and apparently isn’t used to having someone in our yard, because I was treated to much barking. When I came back out of the yard I noticed the gray cat sitting in front of Missy’s ajar gate. Missy barked at me, leaned down to the cat, *whuffed* in its face, and then ran off. The cat looked over at me with a comical look of surprise on its face and trotted after Missy. That’s one of those moments when I wish I could understand the language of animals.