That's why I was still tied to Mom when we came around Creature Corner, where I have met a lion, a wolf-dog, and too many bunny rabbits to count. This morning there was a new creature flumping across the path. It was a horseshoe-crab-shaped ball of fur that moved like a land sting ray. "STRIPEY STINK-CAT!" I barked.
"No!" Mom said slowing down like she wasn't sure whether to start running or fall on the ground herself. "Nononononono!" she groaned. Dr. Remy's Dad handed Mom Remy's leash and started running toward the man. Remy and I could tell that the humans were scared, so we were scared too. Mom's movements slowed down even more until she froze, and so for now Remy and I froze and waited for something to happen.
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.
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.
I had no problem running away from that glopy, gelatinous mystery and got a head start down the beach. Before too long, I could smell the delicious smell of rot again. This time there was a Thing that looked like a tree trunk surrounded by a cloud of flies, but smelled like ocean and dead things. I tucked my tail and ran as far away from it as I could without jumping in the ocean.