Thursday, August 11, 2011

Up















For weeks her gaze has been pointed directly towards the earth. Endlessly sniffing, running crazy zig zags and doubling-back across the garden; always making sure that her nose is never more than a centimetre away from the ground.

Her tail is naturally kinked in a permanent question mark and this now seems appropriate. Milly’s been here for three weeks now and is trying to solve a mystery: what is that strange smell?

Wild strawberries grow in carpet-like abun
dance in the part of the building’s grounds reserved for exercising dogs, punctuated by mouldering chestnuts and green baby acorns. Black crows strut around with insolent confidence, only sometimes bothering to make the pigeons whip-whirr up in flight.

A grey tabby sits in the planter box by the sliding doors, cooling itself from the surprisingly hot Swiss sunshine, presumably waiting to be let back inside when her owner returns. Monsieur Frattiani putters by on a mini-tractor carting several linked garbage skips behind him, odour and noise combining to produce an inviting distraction.

Milly ignores all of these potential diversions in her pursuit of the great unknown. Every time she’s outside in the garden or for a big walk in the local park she’s possessed by it, literally having her route planned by where her n
ose leads her.

Finally, today, she receives her answer. It’s 7.30am and during the first bladder-emptying visit of the day four Siberian chipmunks are caught by surprise at the base of two enormous oak trees.

They’re tiny little creatures, like rats with luxuriant bushy tails. Four black stripes appear to be painted with great care down their backs. All of them immediately scoot up the trees to safety giving our dog no chance of seeing them up close, let alone touching one.

For the first time in four years, Milly sproings into the air with glee: arthritis, smarthritis. AHA! So THAT’S what you are! Sproing Sproing Sproing – are you going to come back down?

She cocks her head to one side, bouncing now over, tail wagging more slowly. So, what are they exactly?

That question is yet to be answered but now, on every walk or visit outside, her head is always pointed upwards, looking, sniffing, hoping.


20 comments:

Helen said...

This made me smile! I'm glad she's looking better and settling in. And amde me remember the movie 'Up' with the dogs and squirrels!

P.S. word verification: 'milling'
is that what Millie does?

Kath Lockett said...

She does indeed, Helen. She most particularly does her 'milling' in the kitchen when we're cooking dinner!

ropcorn said...

Aww! Millie look so happy and excited in her eyes. So great to see. And what a cute squirrel! :-)

nuttynoton said...

sounds like she is settling in and enjoying herself, good news for you all. Hope you enjoy your trip, things seemed to have settled down now!

Pandora Behr said...

Lovely to see that she's settling. Hope that the same is for you. Want to hear more about live in Geneva.
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Andrew said...

Isn't it so cute! I was excited when I saw a squirrel in London, but it was not nearly so cute.

The Elephant's Child said...

So cute. And so much fun for Milly and for you. Really happy that things seem to be picking up.

Vanessa said...

She is sounding happy to be with you all. Those squirrels sound so cute, are the pesty like rats?

A carpet of wild strawberries? Yummy.

Jayne said...

She's in her second puppyhood, yay!

WV = Voloseau....looks like Greece is on your horizon!

Romana said...

Yay Millie! Hope you have lots of fun sniffing out those squirrels! You look mighty happier than I had last pictured you :) (Testament to your owners love I am sure!)
xxx

Hannah said...

Darling Kath, I'm so delighted to read the underlying tone of pleasure and happiness in this post! I do hope things keep settling into place, still with this air of mystery and discovery :) :)

Wally The Walrus said...

I think Millie is a *very* intelligent dog - you can tell that from the look. That she's made it from Australia to the other side of the world, and seems to be doing well and is full of curiosity about the new things is a great credit - and for you I suspect a great comfort.

It's even better that the Swiss/French culture is tolerant of dogs and at least has a place where the dogs can get a run around and go exploring.

Very please to hear that she'e settling in. Give her a big scratch and a pat from me.

Wally The Walrus said...

Oh, and I forgot to add... I really do like your way with words: from "Flinging flack from Flemington" to "Goofing off in Geneva"... that did make me smile.

Baino said...

Aww . . you have a veritable menagerie there. Love the chipmunks, I wonder if you can tame them. I have a friend who has three tameish squirrels. His cats don't bother them either.

Helen Balcony said...

A scratch and a pat from me too.
(((((Millie)))))

River said...

I like seeing the smile in Milly's eyes, the little chipmunk is very cute too.
Me? I'm exhausted and still have several boxes to unpack.....

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks everyone - you're right, it is a testament to her nature and huge amount of trust that she coped with six weeks in a boarding kennel and then a (presumably frightening) 29 hour flight in a crate.

We appreciate even more how she just wants to be with her 'pack' and is always seated or lying near one of us at home - out on the balcony, in the study or the living room. If we're in three different rooms she chooses the rug in the foyer so that she's geometrically close to us all!

Anji said...

She seems happy. Your post seems happier too!

Jackie K said...

That was a lovely read - I felt like I was there! Beautiful.

Have Myelin? said...

I love that word, smarthritis. LOL!