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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In which Cody receives a gift he doesn't want

It was the last windstorm that did it. With one big gust, Cody’s doghouse lifted itself off its base and slid sideways. There it sat, with its faded paint, chipped edges and furled shingles. It had a list to it like the leaning tower of Pisa.
Cody hid under the cedar tree until the wind died down. Then very carefully, he crawled into his crooked, tired little house as he had every night of his life. It smelled like him. The wooden floor was smooth where he had curled his body into it in sleep.
That’s where we found him the next morning.
“Oh, poor Cody. Come on out of there. We have to fix your house.”
“Actually, I’ve been building him a new one. It’s all done except for the shingles and the paint job,” the Farmer piped up behind me.
You would think the dog would be grateful. You would think the dog would be excited to have a new house. But he wasn’t. When the Farmer came around the side of the house on the tractor, Cody jumped up onto his busted old doghouse.
As the long fingers of the tractor shovel slid under the dog house, Cody shivered and jumped off. He saw me on the porch and tried to climb the wall to get to me.
The tractor bit and clawed at the house. The Farmer jumped down out of his seat, gave Cody a comforting hug, and heaved the remnants of the structure up onto the shovel. A groan escaped from Cody. Slowly the tractor pulled away. Cody moved to stand on the spot where his house once stood. He sniffed the ground, turned around exactly three times, and sat down.
It was time for lunch. The early spring sun warmed the back porch, so the Farmer and I sat there on our Adirondack chairs with our soup. Cody lay beside us on the grass. He started to moan and groan in a continuous melancholy song.
“I think he is really upset.” The song went on.
After lunch, the Farmer jumped down off the porch and walked over to the dog. Cody melted into a wagging puddle.
Then it was time for the gift. The tractor rounded the house once again, this time with a freshly painted red wooden dog house on it. I tried to make a big deal over the arrival, oohing and aahing. Cody shivered and a whimper snuck out of him.
Once the house was carefully centered on its spot, the Farmer jumped down off the tractor and patted the slanted roof of the house. He helped Cody to jump up onto it. The shingles were already warm from the sun.
An hour later, I peeked out the door to see Cody sound asleep on his new dog house. I haven’t seen him inside it yet, but I’m sure he will eventually check it out. As soon as the smell of fresh paint wears off. It took him years to get his other house smelling just right. He has work to do.



Herb said...

We moved to Oxford Mills 18 months ago and spent the first winter on Sanderson Road renovating the stables, then bought a second mare and had our two girls trailored up from Montreal last spring. The mare we bought then blessed us with a filly in August (surprise surprise). One of the renovations was the construction of a double wide dog house for our Great Pyrenese and our Golden Retriever, it now stands as a huge lawn ornament only to be occupied if my wife crawls in and coaxes the dogs along. We always find a piece of our adventure in your stories.

Diana Leeson Fisher said...

Thanks Herb, that's funny. I think every farm has a book full of stories. We just need to write them all down before we forget them. So you didn't know your mare was pregnant?? Yikes. She must carry it well. ;)