Happy Barkday

Burke came into the flat yesterday afternoon from a brief shopping foray. She was carrying a wee box out of which a box of toy French fries jutted. As is our habit after shopping, we commenced in the kitchen to take stock of the trip’s booty. There were some things for us. Hummus. A bulgur salad. Smoked cheese. And then there were some things for the dog. Some jerky sticks of duck meat. A donut of bacon. And the aforementioned French fries.

“I couldn’t find actual fries. So this is the next best thing.”

The dog seemingly understood the words and received her gift with open-mouthed joy. She dropped it for a couple sticks of duck jerky, but when she was done she ran off to the other room with her new toy. I made an extra large bowl of wet dog food and brought it into her. We then sang Happy Birthday. The cat was unamused.

I never knew what to think about people who don’t throw their pets birthday parties. Every pet I’ve ever had has a birthday party every year – either accurate or observed. On this day we shovel gifts and meats and treats towards them and then clean up the vomit afterwards with a smile. Just like everyone’s birthday. We grant her wishes and forgive her rude behavior.

We took her out then. Not to a place we always go to, but to a special Sokol near a big soccer field. We sipped (gulped) beers while she ate sticks and barked at the butterflies. I took her out on the field and let her chase me until I was entirely winded. So about a whole three minutes.

My sister Amanda threw our first cat’s birthday. Wicket. Named after the affable Ewok in Return of the Jedi and who looks a whole lot like my current dog. Amanda gave Wicket part of a Nestle bar and we tried to give her a tea party from which she bolted early to go decapitate a robin and bring it back to us as either an offering or a warning, we could never be sure which. Wicket was a foundling and was so large she bordered on puma size. She did not enjoy her birthday. She did however kill and decapitate two birds. Though we forgave her her trespasses, my mother was not so generous as she cleaned up the partial remains of two birds from our welcome mat.

Maisy does no such thing. But she barks at a fat pigeon out on the field. After consultation and a relatively strong degree of certainty that she couldn’t catch it in a million years, we let the dog off her leash. She takes off for the bird, who turns her snobby beak towards the dog as she bolts after her. It is at this moment I become concerned about three eventualities. I have listed them below in most to least horrifying.

  1. She would actually catch the bird, which would lead to  
    1. Her eating the bird in front of 15 or so horrified drinkers.
    1. The bird gouging out her eyes in front of 15 or so horrified drinkers.
    1. The bird carrying our 12-pound Shih-tzu into the trees and leaving her there.
    1. 15 horrified drinkers taking videos of A, B, or C and then me and Burke ending up on Reddit and then being arrested for cruelty to animals.
  2. Some other stuff.

In the end, the bird leisurely took off into the afternoon sky with no conflict. Burke and I celebrate remaining off Reddit for at least another day. But when she comes back we sing Happy Birthday and I saw one or two phones hoisted, so our birthday wish might not come true after all.     

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