Diva † was having some mysterious issues. She would get up from a deep nap and you'd discover a mysterious puddle of liquid where she had been. After a couple of such incidents from a very fastidious, cleanliness conscious dog, I decided that something was definitely amiss and called her vet. The vet broke it to me as gently as she could, "As dogs get older, they sometime tend to have bladder control issues. This is easily fixed with..."
"But", I interrupted quickly, "when she was five, they thought the same thing and it just turned out to be an infection".
An infinitesimal pause later, "Sure, we can definitely check for infections. All you have to do is drop-off a sample", said Vet.
"Great!" said I, feeling all positive. As soon as I hung up, I realized that dropping off of a sample, involved, as a first step, the acquisition of such sample. This, to put it mildly, is easier said than done. Consider for instance, the structure and behavior of a dog. Even medium sized dogs, which mine are, are only about as tall as your knees when they are on all fours. And they squat. Unlike cats, they do not dig. So, you have such a small window between the preparation for the deed and the deed itself, that if you snooze, well, you lose. Add to that all the fur and long hair and you really are working blindfolded!
So it was that the next morning found me wielding a styrofoam cup in my yellow latex gloved hand and braving the 19F weather to step out into the backyard. Right behind Diva. She did not notice anything different as she shot out of the back door proclaiming to the entire world that she was up and about and all set to embrace yet another awesome day! As far as Diva is concerned, everyday is awesome. No exceptions. Once the initial euphoria of greeting the day wore off, she realized that there was something tailing her really closely. She looked over her shoulder and was surprised to see me. She turned around, pranced about and waited for the styrofoam cup to fly through the air. Nothing happened. She tried sniffing it. She tried nudging it. She tried looking alternately at me and the cup. Still nothing. She looked at me for some sign of cognition and found none. I just wanted the sample. I wasn't up for games early in the morning at freezing temperatures over slick surfaces. She gave me one last look of contempt (believe me, I know!) and took to following some invisible trail on the gleaming white snow.
I followed really close. Uncomfortably close for her. She tried to shake me off.
She stepped left, I stepped left. She stepped right, I stepped right. Her tail had started to sway. This was almost as much fun as flying styrofoam cups.
She took a couple of quick steps forward. I took a couple of quick steps forward.
She backed up, I backed up. The tail that was doing a gentle wave until now, was tracing emphatic circles in the air. She did a quick pirouette. I spun around on my heels. And fell.
I converted the fall to a clean, yogic, downward dog over her. She ducked out from under me and stood for a second, confused. Definitely, a very different situation than she was used to. Then she interpreted the downward dog correctly. Of course! An invitation to play! Promptly she zoomed around in circles accompanied by a whole lot of vocalization, to express her joy over this unexpected invitation to play with a human in freezing temperatures over half-iced-over snow. When she had gathered enough momentum, she took off towards the far side of the yard. As I straightened myself up, I could not help but think proudly, "There! Take that, Vet! Who you callin' old?! Look how far she's run in such a short time".
Then I froze. In the time that it had taken me to think these thoughts, she had already calmed down and was following her nose and walking in well considered, intricate circuits. This only meant one thing. She was looking for the ideal spot to land.
"Wait!" I yelled as I attempted to cross the yard in a half waddle, half run.
My yell had paused her a bit, but by the time I brushed the hood of the over-sized coat off my eyes, she was at it again. She was almost squatting when I made a dash for her, covering the last few feet on my belly. My Physical Training instructor from school would have been proud of that dive. I was proud of my dive. I looked up and smiled at the blue sky. Wait! Blue sky? Where was Diva? Did I miss the event? I swiveled around looking for her. Sure enough, there was Diva. Safely out of reach. Looking very attentively at me, with her head cocked to one side as if trying to understand what just happened. She came over to sniff at me and make sure that I had not killed myself and then went again in search of the ideal spot.
She made to squat, I slipped the cup under her. She jumped up and walked away looking over her shoulder incredulously. She made to squat and I dove again. She wheeled around in horror. "Is there no privacy around here?", her look said. She moved away and tried again. And again. Finally she gave up. She wasn't going to win this one. Besides, humans have to be allowed some vagaries now and then.
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