I’m trying to sleep with a dog. But it’s not happening. We are in a tiny camper. It’s almost midnight, I’m awake. Ellie Mae, the coonhound, is snoring like a retired chainsaw.
Earlier today, I tried to fish with this irksome dog. We were supposed to be catching trout, but you can’t fish when you have a coonhound dog-paddling through ice-cold water. When she finished, she smelled like reclaimed sushi.
And now we’re sleeping in the same single bed.
She started the night at my feet. Midway through, she curled between my legs. By morning, I will have black-and-tan hindparts in my face.
This morning, we went for a walk through the woods to do her necessaries. But she wasn’t in the mood to do business. She saw a squirrel dart across our trail. She was gone for a few hours.
She loves squirrels, even though she’s never successfully captured one. The closest she ever came to such was when she chased my neighbor’s overweight housecat through the neighborhood. She ran the cat straight onto Mister Donaldson’s roof.
Mrs. Donaldson told me that Ellie howled for a solid twenty minutes at that cat. It took three middle-aged men and a two-story telescopic ladder to rescue the poor feline.
Ever since the incident, the Donaldsons quit sending me Christmas cards. And when I see them in the supermarket they don’t make eye-contact.
This dog is going to be the death of me.
For supper tonight, Ellie rode shotgun while we drove into town. Every dog I’ve ever owned has ridden shotgun. Cody, Lady, Boone, Joe. God rest their souls.
There’s something about a dog in my passenger seat that does it for me.
Our main order of business for the evening was supper. I planned on picking up something to-go, and eating back at the camper.
I parked in town, and instructed Ellie to wait in the bed of the truck while I secured a burger. She agreed. We shook on this.
So, I waited for my order at the bar. I watched the television in the corner. I noticed heads turning. A few laughs. Fingers pointing. I heard dog claws on a wood floor.
A coonhound pranced through the middle of the joint. People took turns petting, rubbing, talking in high-pitched voices. The hound sat beside my stool, staring at me. I told her how disappointed I was in her.
Ellie only blinked, scratched, then passed gas. A string of drool dangled from her mouth like a swinging pendulum.
“That your dog?” the waitress asked.
“I’ve never seen this foul creature before in my life.”
But it was too late, the waitress was all over the animal. People are powerless against floppy jowls and big eyes.
And now I’m back in the camper with a dog who has her hindsection on my pillow. There are raucous smells being emitted from her tail pipe. She is snoring so loud I’m wearing earplugs.
I’m not going to lie to you. This was supposed to be a fun camping trip, but I’m miserable tonight. Absolutely miserable. Even so, you ought to see this angel face of hers.
If this dog ever left me, my life would be over.
And I would surely die.