I am now accustomed to my morning wake-up call.
It starts with a cold nose. Then a paw. Then a bell.
Whose brilliant idea was it to bell train the puppy?
I think this to myself as I stumble my half-asleep limbs out of bed at 5AM patting down the dresser for glasses, while sneaking a quick look in the mirror to make sure I have something covering my body — before walking out the door, leash in hand.
It’s my morning routine. Every morning. Same thing. Nose. Paw. Bell. Me, glasses, leash, following after.
Last night was no exception.
Except LAST night there was a skunk who showed up for this 5AM party.
I heard him first. Then I saw something move in the hedge. And, then, just as the little beady eyes glistened in the moonlight and I recognized that distinct white stripe, every fiber of my being froze, my mind screamed, “SKUNK!”
However, there was a problem. Brady doesn’t know what a kitty is, let alone a skunk. The puppy still thinks that bugs crawling on the sidewalk are there for his total and utter enjoyment. Ants are like tiny tennis balls, but even better, they have legs and run away.
I turned and bolted up the steps as fast I could, then whiplashed into a hard stop. Brady stood frozen on the lawn looking at me as I were the crazy one.
“Brady, get up here. Get up here!” I pleaded in the dark, barefoot in my pajamas hanging over the side of the steps, one hand on the leash.
He looked up at me like it was a game. This is fun!
“Brady! C’mon. Come here. Come HERE!”
Whatever made me try to reason with a 5 month old puppy I do not know. But I stood there, on my tip toes, tugging at the leash while trying to explain the dire situation — we have a code BLACK WITH WHITE STRIPES.
Here I am, making so much progress with my fear of creepy, crawly things. I have even been walking barefoot in the yard. BAREFOOT! But my lovemore attitude just has not extended to skunks. Especially not sneak attack skunks in the middle of the wee morning light.
Then Brady saw it too, waddling over the hedge line. I could see the curiosity in his little puppy dog brown eyes. ”Don’t go over there, please don’t go over there.”
Then, I pulled out my last resort, cure-all tactic.
“Do you want a treat? C’mon! Come here! I’ll get you a treat!”
I’m pretty certain that dogs speak more English than we give them credit for, and I’m pretty confident mine will do anything for food.
But not in this moment of panic. My offering fell on deaf ears.
Finally, as if the spell was broken, Brady ran up the stairs after me and we both bolted inside the door, like it was a game. Brady still having no idea what happened.
Until we meet again.
Unfortunately, it may be sooner than I hope.
The alarm goes off at 5AM.