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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Part Two: Vitor's last hurrah

Well, we almost made it through the week without any disasters. I was amazed how quiet and well-behaved my daughter’s city dog German Shepherd – Rottweiler could be, on his farm stay-cation. He went into his crate without a fuss, because although I find it odd, it is a completely normal part of life for him. It’s his safe place. His haven.
We started out the week with a brisk 45-minute walk in the morning but after he had done that once, he didn’t want to again. Like me, he doesn’t really see the point of walking just for walking! Vitor prefers to get his exercise playing fetch. He’s really good at it. Except he tends to break hard plastic Frisbees and eat the pieces. I found him an indestructible rubber toy to fetch.
During the evenings when the Farmer and I settled in front of Netflix with our geriatric Gordon Setter Cody, Vitor came along and settled in too. Sort of. Mostly he flopped around and chewed on a very loud squeaking sheep toy. This alternated with stealth attacks on our poor 16-year-old dog, who was a bundle of nerves by the end of the week. If Vitor got too rowdy we would put him outside, where he would sit on the porch and watch us through the window until it got dark or he started whimpering to come in, whichever came first.
When we weren’t home, we put him in the crate. When one of us was home but too busy to watch the dog, we put him on a lead outside, and he lay under the cool skirts of the cedar tree, counting the cows as they lined up at the fence to investigate him.
If we were both home and present, I let Vitor run free. He checked out the raccoon traps (empty), pushed his nose as far down the groundhog hole as it would go (and emerged unbitten), chased the farm cats into hiding, and visited Cody regularly (mostly to see if he had any kibble left in his bowl).
He even tried to visit Chelsea the Border Collie but she threatened to bite his nose off. She doesn’t like being approached when she is tied; she feels trapped. Later she remedied the situation by escaping from her lead. When they were both free, they got along just fine.
Friday night, Vitor’s last night on the farm, I let him out one more time before bed. Granted, it was a bit later than usual. I settled in on the couch with my book and waited for him to reappear at the screen door.
Five minutes later I hear barking. I slid the door open, stepped out on the porch and was hollering for Vitor when the stench of skunk slapped me in the face. Vitor appeared then, and marched into the house, triumphant.
“Did you get that funny-looking cat, Vitor?” I asked him. He did a lot of lip-licking and snout-snuffling, and settled in for the night. A faint smell of skunk spray had followed him into the house, so I had to wash him the next morning before returning him to his tidy townhouse in the suburbs. I also packed a dry shampoo in his bag in case the smell re-emerged from his damp coat and he began to offend his caregivers.
The last thing Vitor did before leaving the farm: he ripped his squeaky sheep toy apart. I’m not sure why he slept with it and carried it around all week, only to destroy it in the end.
I helped the dog to hop up into the cargo section of my Explorer. This was to his liking until we got going down the road. At first I thought he was yelping and whining because he wanted the windows open instead of the air conditioning. Then I realized what he really wanted was to be in the back seat. Every five minutes he gave an air-splitting yelp, nearly prompting a heart attack and swerve in his chauffeur. I learned to watch him in the rear-view mirror so I could tell when another yelp was coming.

Vitor seemed happy to be home in his Barrhaven townhouse. He pinned the cat by the neck and gave him a good love bite. I wonder if he will miss the excitement and activity on the farm. Something tells me I’m going to miss him. 

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