Tuesday, August 6, 2013


It was not long before our house guests returned from their spiritual retreat, I pumped out espresso drinks and filled the table with snacks for everyone to enjoy.  The sun blazing through the curtains filled the room with a cool blue calm that merited a moment of appreciation.

Soon after catching up on the travelers' news, I stepped outside to collect the mail only to be halted by our new neighbor asking if I "see dog".  Oh, I see dog alright!

I explained to my neighbor that the situation had been extremely complicated, especially with his other dog barking frantically every time we approached his door and with nobody responding to our multiple attempts to reach them.  Unfortunately, we had had no choice but to call the authorities.  The man was extremely understanding and relieved that his pet was well and taken care of.

Due to his fragile emotional state, I felt compelled to give in to his every request.  Before I knew it, I had given him all of the detailed information pertaining to the local SPCA, their procedures, hours of operation, a map and anything else imaginable that would facilitate in the retrieval of his K9.  My kindness knew no boundaries, apparently, as he made his way into my house, through the hallway and into the kitchen where he proceeded to make a telephone call.  He introduced himself to my guests (only one of which spoke English) and carried on endlessly about his love of everything Greek, but especially as it pertained to food.

He would not be the first, nor the last neighbor to have made such a show of his endearment with Greek cuisine, but the absolute last thing on my list of priorities at that particular moment was to indulge.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Unable to reach Monster's keepers and with another menacing black pitbull threatening behind the closed doors of the shaded house, I resorted to contacting the SPCA.  After explaining the situation, they agreed to send someone over immediately.

Lauren was a dogcatcher like no other.  Towering over me at 5'11" and the proud owner of perfect model measurements, blonde curls gathered seemingly effortlessly atop her head cascading as if Botticelli himself had placed them there as his artistic hand had those of his Venus, her melodic voice and pleasant demeanor left us all in complete awe with jaws to the floor.  She proceeded in calmly convincing Monster to follow her to the truck.  With the patience of a saint she allowed him to become familiar with her and the vehicle before even attempting to get him inside.  Monster was unhappy in spite of Lauren's genteel efforts, but he eventually complied.  What male of any species would not have followed her?

Once the K9 was securely stowed away, Lauren kindly made her way back to the garden in order to assist in the retrieval of our remaining two missing chickens.  Together we coaxed and cajoled Fluffy Foot and Clio from under the fence and the neighbor's overgrown juniper bushes.  Lauren eventually took to crawling under the fence, into the web of juniper branches and pushing the chickens my way.  She emerged with her coif embellished by various leaves and berries, looking intentionally tousled.

After nearly two hours, the coop was locked with all the residents safely inside.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Part XIII - The Calm Before the Storm

The days that followed lulled me with their placidity, in spite of the frenetic pace set by the closing of the school year and the end of a myriad of extracurricular activities.  Even our visitors had arranged a few days of asylum  at a monastery in the Arizona desert, where the heat was made bearable inside the pristine oasis.

Though my family did not join our travelers, we did wake to go to church on Sunday morning.  Perhaps no match for Arizona climate, our temperate heat afforded me the opportunity to throw on a linen dress and some pumps.  Primped and ready to go, I heard none other than the occupants of the nethermost portion of my garden shrieking like madwomen for mercy.  Gruff growling and menacing barks accompanied the tragic outcries.

Once again I took to the stairs, just as swiftly as always following the familiar path to the lower lands of mystery and horror.  No chickens.  Not one.  Yet, there lay not one feather in sight!  A stunning creature with grey-blue eyes, a shiny sleek grey coat, drool puddling beneath him and excitedly sniffing out his next meal  stared at me in stupor and astonishment.  "Monster".  If ever there were a more ill-fitting name assigned to a pitbull, I would like to know.

I called to him cautiously and he mounted the hillside.  Monster was happy to "sit" while I scoured the premises for my flock in ankle length gown and kitten heels.  My girls were masters of disguise!  Either that, or Monster was one really stupid dog!  Tucked into the drying brush of the hillside, they were all safely nestled, motionless, playing dead.

One by one, I gathered my friends and safely put them back into the coop.  All except Clio and Fluffy-foot.  They were nowhere in sight.

The children had come to the gate at this time and I urged them to go get the neighbors so they could please collect their dog.  Unfortunately, after more than half an hour of ringing bells and knocking on the door, I was forced to call the SPCA.  Sweet as Monster seemed, I could tell he was not calling an end to his mission.  He sniffed about feverishly making his way under fences from our property, through the neighbor's and back to his, always coming back for more.