The Dog, the Rector and the Ant Hill Honey Dance

From the time Abby the puggle was a puppy, the house next to my parents was vacant – so growing up, when my mom took her for short walks (and to check on the property), they would walk around the house – across the driveway, around the far side of the house (there are large windows hidden from the street) past the kitchen, through the back yard and out the side gate next to her garden.

So, really, Abby considers that house and environs her property.

Last year, the parish priest and wife rented the house, much to my parents’ delight.

Little stink blossom

So…Beloved, Abby and I were at my mom’s house one recent afternoon when Abby rang the indoor bell (Mummy strung bells on a cord and hung them from the front door’s handles, so if she wants out, she rings the bells.  How refined.  No barking from this hound, raised by a cat as she was.  She doesn’t sniff bottoms either, but that’s another story.  Piggy the cat taught her nice animals don’t butt-sniff.  They touch noses.  Abby gets quite offended when uncouth dogs go sniffing around her nether-regions.)

Beloved is usually the one to haul herself up and out with the dog, but feeling noble, I got up and took her outside.  As neither she nor Mummy leash the dog in the front yard, Abby goes sprinting off before I can clip her collar (yes, I AM an idiot for not leasing prior to door-opening).

So she’s off sniff-sniff-sniffing.  I don’t think much about her grabbing a bit or two of grass as she snorfed the scent of whatever she was tracking.

Then, you could see in her furry little brain she gets a wild hair.

She starts heading next door… oh no, you don’t, you horrible little animal, get back here.  She nimbly evades my attempts to capture and gleefully hits the side of the driveway… which, I might add, is a very pretty light brown brick kind of number the former residents installed – not your typical asphalt.

As soon as she passes the property line, it starts.  Cat owners know it as hyuck-hyuck-hycuk.  Dog owners know it as the weird cough with abdominal movements much like those of Sigourney Weaver while preggo with the alien.

Oh, god.  Dog does NOT want to head back to the sanctuary of Granny’s lawn.  Nooooo…. She wants to puke on HER lawn in the far reaches of HER yard… namely, that of the parish priest.

Except, inevitably, while evading capture, we run outta time.  Dog deposits neon yellow vomit with bright grassy accents on the beautiful brown driveway.


Feeling much relieved now her tummy wasn’t contorting and clearly amused by me playing chase with her, she was up for the game of chase of which I was NOT a willing participant.  Not thinking straight at this point, I started bawling her name while chasing her and attempting to herd her back to my mom’s without disturbing the occupants of the house.

Yeeeeeeeeah.  Not smart about bawling her name.  Of course, with any dog, herding works better if you raise your arms to make yourself appear as large as possible so they figure they can’t escape if you trap them.

More than anything, I was trying to keep the damn dog away from the front door with the giant windows – the last thing I needed was the rector and wife seeing me do a war dance on their front lawn for no apparent reason.

Desperately wishing for my cellphone so I could enlist Beloved or Mummy’s help before we further convinced the church of my questionable sanity, I watched Abby’s rump disappear past the front door and picture windows.  SHIT.

Meanwhile, my mom and Beloved were enjoying a cold beverage, snackies and pleasant conversation as I sweated getting the damn dog under control, worrying about the oozing pile of vomit.

The dog danced out of the other side of their front patio and did that canine crouch with the butt wiggle that clearly says “come and GET me!!”  Then she heads to the side of the house that doesn’t have a gate to the back yard – and I swear that damn dog giggled.

Shit.  Shit, shit, SHIT.

You also have to consider our rector, while very fond of Abby, is quietly disapproving of my behavior with my baby.  Dog training wasn’t our forte, especially with a challenging breed like a beagle.  Pugs aren’t so bad, but Abby, when you tell her to do something, clearly first considers what’s in it for her and if it doesn’t involve food, she most likely won’t comply.

And YES, sometimes I do indulge the dog with a little food off my plate, or like the time we did the CROP walk fundraiser and she got tired so I carried her 32 pound carcass.

So you can understand when the good couple, sitting at their breakfast table, suddenly see me sprint (as best I can) past their side window, arms flailing in hot pursuit of something they can’t see, then watching me emerge into their back garden screaming like a banshee, running like an intoxicated, infuriated Celtic dancer and cussing up a storm wasn’t exactly what I wanted.

On the other hand, having the rector emerge from the abode to find neon yellow vomit adorning the driveway wasn’t quite the impression I wanted, either.

So I did the only reasonable thing.  I howled for the rector’s wife, who mercifully stuck her head out the door and acted like it was perfectly normal to find a parishioner in their back garden acting like they’d perched on a red ant hill while slathered in honey butter and wearing short shorts.


Rector’s wives are angels on earth.  There’s no other definitions for them.  “I need a bucket of water.  And that DAMN DOG!!”

“Okay.  Something wrong?”

“Dog puked.  Water!  Please!!!”

Door closed.  Not sure if she wanted to keep the cats in, the dog out or ME out, but she promptly returned with a bucket and assured me not to worry about it.  I cleared the deposit, apologized profusely, picked up the dog and carried the wriggling beast back to my mother’s.

Where she immediately started whining for her dinner.  UNNNNGH.





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