Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Murphy and the Fox

We adopted Murphy when she was a year-and-a-half old. We were her fourth family. She had been bought at pet city as a Christmas present when she was six weeks old and a little ball of fur. The woman sold her when she was two months old to another woman, and that person turned Murphy into Keeshond rescue less than six months later.

The rescue folks wondered if she was adoptable. She was, according to their records, "stubborn" and had exhibited a "failure to bond" with her previous families. I have previously written in detail about Murphy (http://tjbeckhouse.wordpress.com/category/animals/), but now that we are up at the High Mountain Lodge, the vermin have gotten larger and smarter.

Keeshonden were originally bred as companion dogs in the European low country. Their alternate name is the "Dutch Barge Dog" because they were ideal dogs for the barges that were the pre-industrial revolution transportation precursors to trains. Murphy certainly is true to her breed. A consumate watch dog, she barks when anybody approaches our "barge"--the High Mountain Lodge--including guests coming over from the guest lodge for breakfast.

But nothing compares to her excitement/rage when she sees our neighborhood fox.

Forget the mice and squirrels that made her crazy at our house in Golden. Now she has bigger fish to fry (so to speak). There is a fox in the area that is absolutely unafraid of people. He's gorgeous, with a red body and a striking, bushy, gray tail.

Murphy has seen and chased him all over the mountain. He's pretty blasé about the whole thing. Evidently, this isn't the first time he's encountered an un-cool, agro dog. Just the other day, I was driving away from the lodge, and the fox was crossing the road ahead of us. I slowed down almost to a stop, mostly to get a better look at the creature.

He was gorgeous. I stopped the car while he was in the middle of the road, about ten feet in front of us. He slowly ambled over to the side of the road, and I began to edge forward. "Murphy!" I whispered. "There's the fox!"

Murphy finally saw him, concussed her head against the window glass, and set up a ruckus. The window on the fox's side of the road was down a few inches, and Murphy stuck her muzzle out and barked and roared and snarled and carried on like one of those monsters in the horror movie, The Day of the Triffids.

As I drove away, the fox began, evilly, to trot alongside the car while Murphy proceeded to lose her mind. There is encrusted dog slobber on the driver's side of our Subaru all the way the the back window that I don't know if Bon Ami and acid will ever get off. Even after we'd pulled away from the fox, Murphy continued to be beside herself. She was actually incapable of stopping barking. I pulled up in front of the Alco Department Store (Fraser, Colorado's, answer to Wall Mart), and she continued to bark at everything that moved in the parking lot.

I went into the store, and when I came out a while later, she had subsided into moans in the back seat. We drove back to the High Mountain Lodge and, as we were turning down the road, I whispered, "Murphy! Be on the lookout! Maybe you'll see the fox again."

Sometimes I surprise myself with my stupidity. That little whisper set Murphy off again. There wasn't a fox in sight, but now we have indelible dog slobber on the passenger-side of the car to balance the previous mucking of the driver's side.

Murphy was a basket case after that. She came into the lodge and fell asleep behind the couch. When our guests came to supper that evening, she pretended they weren't there.

No comments:

Post a Comment