Thursday, October 6, 2011
You might think that, Chet Baker being a pretty smart example of a pretty smart breed, I could train him to find and fetch pawpaws for me. Well, I am here to tell you that I have tried, to no avail.
I would love to say this is a photo of Chet looking for pawpaws, but he is looking for a squirtle.
Chet Baker! Get the pawpaw! Fetch the pawpaw! Bring it to Mether!
You are kidding, right? I have things to do, rodents to meet.
I saw a pawpaw tree leaning over a wide, deep creek (pawpaws love bottomland). It was loaded with big fruits, but as luck would have it, I knew they'd roll right down the steep, slippery, muddy bank and go right into the creek. So I called Chet Baker to my side and shook the tree.
Six big pawpaws thudded to the ground and began to roll. Get the pawpaw, Chet Baker! Fetch it!
And I was astonished when he skibbled right down that bank and to the shore and catpawed a pawpaw to him, bobbed a couple of times and came up with it in his jaws!
GOOD BOY!! OK, bring it Mether! Come on Chet! Bring me the pawpaw!
And after a couple of false starts he picked it up and carried it up the slope! It was like an episode of Lassie. It was amazing.
He bounded up the slope and stopped about 15 feet away and put the pawpaw down.
And he buried it.
He took that big beautiful pawpaw and covered it with leaves and there was nothing I could do about it. No amount of coaxing, yelling, encouraging or dissolving in helpless laughter could change his plan for the pawpaw. The slope was so severe and so slick I could barely move, much less get over to rescue the pawpaw. For awhile I thought I might not get back up to the level part, it was that slick and that steep. I was on all fours, 16 pounds of pawpaws in my backpack, crawling around like a hurt spider, slipping two feet back for every foot I got up. And my dog was burying a pawpaw just out of reach.
With a final push of his nose, he dislodged the pawpaw and it rolled back down the slope into the creek. I saw my chance.
"Come ON, Baker! Bring it to me! Come on! Good Boy! Bring it to Mether!"
He waded in, grabbed it again, carried it back up the slope near me and dropped it again and it rolled back down into the creek. Together, we sat and watched it bob off toward McConnellsville. Chet silent, me laughing like a loon, us all alone there in the woods over the deep creek.
I thanked the Lord I wasn't sprawled on the ground with my leg in a bear trap and the trap key just inches out of my reach with only Chet Baker there to help me.
Lassie he is not.
We made our way back to the parking lot where we'd left the car and Chet indicated that he would like to case the school and see if there was anyone inside who needed their face washed.
No, Bacon, there's nobody there and they probably wouldn't let you in if there were. I'm sorry. Come on, let's head home.
You could have opened that door for me. I like schools and chirren. Sometimes you really let me down, too. I have tried to train you to let me in everywhere there is a door and you have failed to learn it.
Back in the car I kissed him, hugged him and told him that he was simple, the most utterly worthless dog the world had ever known.
I notice you are saying those awful words in a very loving tone, Mether. Here is what you do not understand. When you have a food that is smelly, and the pawpaw was VERY smelly, you have to bury it immediately. You do not bring it to anyone. You bury it and then nobody else can find it and then what you do is you come back and get it later. Why you do not understand such a simple thing I do not know, but I was doing you a big favor, burying that smelly fruit for you to get later.
We made our way home through the countryside we love so much, and that darn dog ruined my best picture with his little punkin head, a blocky little cartoon head full of strange ideas and unrealized abilities.