I love watermelon.
It was about seven-thirty Tuesday evening, and Bernie and Chris walked back to the car. Yes, they walked. It was still more than 100 degrees, and with that heat, it wasn’t long before they were hot and tired. June in Arizona required me to shift exercise times for the dogs. The sun rose before six and set sometime after seven. Another reason I went at those times was to avoid police.
The police patrolled the parking lots. In addition to general security, they looked for dogs and children left in cars. After ten minutes a vehicle’s interior temperature could exceed 115-degrees.
With the dogs in the car, I went to Walmart for a few groceries. I left the a/c running and returned within fifteen minutes. No police awaited me. Twice, once at Sprouts and the other time at Walmart the police waited for me. I guess it was a judgment call. Was it legal to leave the a/c pumping cool air with dogs or children left unattended? So far, I haven’t been ticketed.
All this for a watermelon.
I drove home and let the dogs out. Bernie always went directly to the porch and waited by the front door. Chris always visually checked the neighborhood while I pulled a couple of grocery bags from the rear of the SUV. With my hands full, I left the watermelon sitting at the edge of the SUV and walked up the porch steps and opened the door.
Bernie charged in front of me. Bernie was always thirsty, and I knew he was swiftly headed for his water bowl. I anticipated Chris to be behind me, but he was still in the street. No problem, I expected him within seconds.
As I placed the bags on the kitchen counter, I heard a thud. I looked around and didn’t see Chris. Curious, but not overly concerned, I headed for the door. As I went outside, I saw the wobbling watermelon in the middle of the street. I don’t know how it fell out of the SUV. Where was Chris?
I didn’t panic. In summer, all the neighbors are gone. Also, Chris knew the neighborhood. For the past few weeks, Chris has explored some of the immediate area. I’ve learned patience. I’ve come to have confidence when it came to Chris’s disappearance.
Rabbits were the primary reason Chris disappeared. When I return home, I’m always looking for rabbits. If I spot one before Bernie or Chris, I can maintain dog control. However, if I don’t spot the rabbit and open the car door, I suffered the consequences.
Bernie has accepted he will never catch the rabbit. He no longer even tried. Chris accepted all challenges. In the beginning, I worried. Chris flew after the rabbit, and both disappeared between houses within seconds. It was useless to run after him. I blew the dog whistle a few times. Within a minute or two, Chris ran back to me. He might appear from the initial direction he disappeared, or he might appear from several houses down the street. It all depended on the rabbit route.
The point was Chris always came back.
Another trait I know about Chris is he’s easily scared. It’s why he is such a good watchdog. He barks to alert me. He’s not a constant barker and stops barking when I tell him. He’s a watchdog, not a guard dog. I doubt he would protect or defend me. He’s a wimp. At the first sign of aggression, he would run away.
I think when the watermelon fell, the thud sound scared Chris. The first thing he saw was an object rolling toward him. That’s all it took, and Chris was gone.
I blew the dog whistle. I blew it a couple of times. I didn’t know how far he ran. It would take him some time to return.
While I waited for Chris, I picked up the watermelon and took it inside the house. I was gone less than a minute. Chris still hadn’t turned up.
I blew the whistle again. Within a minute Chris appeared. He trotted back but stayed on the other side of the street. I could tell he had no desire to come across to me.
With the offending watermelon out of sight, Chris was still leery of coming home. I calmly walked to Chris and talked to him. Being gently petted and my calm presence always worked. At five years, Chris has always been nervous and shy.