One Year Of Photography by Howard Haby

120/365: Duplicitous Dexter

I had a few personal things to take care of today, on top of some other things I wanted to get to, and the day became a bit stressful. So I gave myself a “time out” and I got out on the back deck to have a cup of tea and think. I was greeted with a number of things: a white plastic flower pot that had been torn to about forty pieces, a number of sticks and branches, a blanket, and an unwanted Sears catalogue that someone had dropped off on my front step. Oh, and a broom.

The back yard was a state! Then it rained.

So I scold Dexter, and after the rain stopped I went outside and began to dance “the stoop & pick”, garbage bag in hand. When all was cleaned up, I sat on the steps and had a look around. Nice day. The leaves are coming back, birds are everywhere, the grass is growing and even a couple flowers are popping up here and there. Even the nights are getting warmer!

Dexter approaches me slowly, head down. I give him a half-hearted stern look, but quickly give up on it and he comes to me more quickly, tail wagging. He has a habit of pushing his way in between my legs to rest his head and neck on my upper legs and against my stomach. I scratch his ears, the top of his head, pat him on his butt and I give him a little pep talk. “You’re a good boy, I know you didn’t mean to tear up and scatter the catalogue (turns out it’s the neighbors catalogue), and the flower pot…. and bring the blanket outside, you’re just a puppy. You don’t know any better. All that stuff must be so tempting for you.” So tell him he’s a good boy, and sensing we’re cool with each other, he backs away and runs for his ball.

I watch him run away, happy as could be. I’m about to get up when I look down at myself and notice that he has splattered me with mud, all along my pants and on my white shirt. Now, I really try not to personify my animals. I know they are just animals, and they don’t think with emotions. I know they rely and react on instinct. I know this. And I’m certain they don’t plan with malice or revenge. But the first thing that popped into my mind after I saw my muddy clothes was how Dexter seemed to trot away, happy as could be and… did he give me a “look” over his shoulder? Was there a hint of a knowing smile?

Having time to think about it, I don’t think this was a case of vengeful opportunism… …but still ………… still……

With Amy away this week I’ve clearly had too much time to think. Thankfully, she’ll be coming back tomorrow. Anyway, the following photos are of Dexter on our afternoon walk. Even after all this, he still gets what he wants most.


One response

  1. Mandy J Poole

    Really love the last two photos of Dexter. The last one especially, it’s as if you cut and pasted him in the photo. I know there’s a word describing that type of photograph but for the life of me I can’t think of it. I just got back from the south coast last night and I think I may have inhaled too much salt sea water while I was home (not complaining!)

    June 11, 2010 at 7:29 am

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