Sunday, June 6, 2010


I'm going to start off by saying that I didn't kill the neighbor's dog. He totally deserved it, but I restrained myself. Now you won't have to suffer through uncomfortable suspense.

We live in coyote country. We have no fenced yard. Our Dog is snack-sized. These three facts add up to: we accompany Dog on his walks. The most common trek is down our long long driveway, then up the private road to the gravel road where the mailboxes are, then back to the house. One-way is about 1000 feet. At the very furthest point, while waiting for Dog to do something productive, I noticed a butterfly on a hackberry leaf. Anything is more interesting than watching Dog search for just the right place, so I wandered over.

Wow. She was laying eggs on the underside of the leaf, her delicate ovipositer daintily dropping little dots one after the other, as though she was decorating a fancy wedding cake. I wondered if there was any chance that I could make the dash all the way back home to get a camera.

Moving as quickly as my inappropriate shoes would allow, I scampered back, got the camera, changed its lens, abandoned Dog, and headed back down the long long driveway.

A quarter of the way there, I stopped short when a gorgeous garter snake poured out of the grass onto the rocks right in front of me. Glowing yellow stripes on the sides, orange down the center, posing on the gravel. And I had a camera. I NEVER have a camera for things like this.

I'd just focused when the snake startled and vanished back into the grass. What?  Why?  AAAUUUGGHHH!!!   It was the neighbor's dog, gallumphing with glee toward me, hoping for a belly scratch. Thoughts of destruction raged through my mind, but I restrained myself. I still had to get back to the butterfly tree.

Hurrying on, now with a companion dog, I arrived to find that she was still there! Still depositing those tiny pearls on the back of the leaf. I found a great angle, focused, started to press the shutter...And then the Neighbor Dog jumped on my leg, throwing me off-balance so that I nudged the branch with the camera. Frightened, the butterfly flew away before I could get the picture.

Yes, he ruined two fabulous pictures within three minutes, and still, Neighbor Dog lives: a monument to my self-control.

As I trudged back down the long long driveway, a Bess Beetle plonked himself in front of me as though he was offering himself up as a consolation prize. I got a nice picture, although I fully expected that Neighbor Dog was going to run up and eat it at any second. I babysat the beetle all the way across the driveway until it entered the leaf litter on the other side, fending off the curious dog, who then trotted back to his home. His work was done.

I'm still very sad about missing the snake. Here's an artist's representation:


  1. I *love* the artist's interpretation.

  2. @Mike: it's the little smile, isn't it?

  3. I love this story! Very sorry for the missed opportunities, but what a delightfully fun and funny presentation. Made me smile a big ol' smile.

  4. Grinning. Oddly enough I have missed a few shots - not because of a dog though - but a parrot. Some afternoons I 'bird sit' three macaws. One seems to take great pleasure on walking over to try and pull off my shoe whenever I happen to be concentrating on taking that one 'rare' photograph of whatever. ATB!