Mom and I have never been so badly matched as dance partners, so there are only so many places where Mom can walk with her elderly meatwad shuffle and I can frolic like a light-footed freight train. But I'm so starved for sprinting that even the old familiar places are exciting. When I smelled the beach coming, I whimpered a happy song and crawled up to the copilot's seat to look out the front window for all the dogs just waiting for me to chase them around in the sand.
Bodie started digging for gold while I supervised her work. Then, when she ran off to check if a puppy was worth bullying, I lay down in her hole, which was cool, and damp, and perfectly Oscar sized. For the next hour or so, we stayed in that spot, sunbathing or digging until a puppy came along that we could gang up on.
Mom mostly stays in one place and isn't very interesting to watch, so I've been patrolling the office and getting to know the rest of my pack better. They don't all have doggie telepathy like Mom and me, so I have to speak real simply and slowly to them so they'll understand.
I'm a brave dog, but Mom's new legs were terrifying. Whenever she used them to clack and swing herself around the house, I shivered and cowered as far away as I could get and still watch her. Mostly Mom spent a lot of time in bed just like I do, napping and getting bored right there with me. Since her monster leg was in bed with us, I sat on Mom's shoulder or lay my head on her chest and watched it so that I could bark at it in case it got up and tried to attack one of us. The good thing about me protecting Mom from her monster leg was that we did lots of snuggling and cuddling when The Leg wasn't watching.
It wasn’t just the big cactupi that had spines. The bushes did too. There were round Oscar-high poofs that looked like something you could sit on… if you wanted to get poked in the butt. And there were bushes that looked like they were made of spiny ping pong paddles. And other bushes had tiny little delicate spikes that looked almost like floofs of cotton unless you tried to touch them.
...and my favorite: Meetings! Meetings are when everybody gets together in one room to let one person show off their barking while everyone else looks bored and watches jealously as I make the rounds and my collies take turns scratching my butt.
"Mom, mom! Come here and look! Quick! There's a man dressed like Smokey the Bear!" Then Mom came clattering out of the bushes. If she were a cartoon character, she would have had twigs in her hair, hashtags on her cheeks and forehead, and her tongue hanging out. But in real life she just looked like a lost person.
Remember when I said that I wished we could just walk across the desert forever? Well... I changed my mind.
I could see that someone had decorated the whole park for Christmas. There was a delicate sprinkling of White dirt on everything that looked like the opposite of a shadow. Rather than the underside of everything being dark, now the sunny side of everything was white. The decorator hadn't missed anything, from the tiniest twig on the stubby trees that were all twisted like candy canes to the giant towers that made up the canyon.