|And they all smelled really bad, too.|
Jager! Darn it, doggie, I say. Will you please move your butt?
The usual morning rush. I’m just trying to walk to my car and Jager keeps stopping in front of me to lick his front leg.
And it’s after berating the spotted dog that my neurons refocus from the lamentations of why can’t I just get up earlier over to … hey, what’s the matter with your leg, Jager?
And that’s when my brain clicks over to Holy Shit mode.
Is that blood?
Alrighty then. I abandon my office-on-wheels bag to rest in the snow and usher Jager back into the house.
He’s got the adrenaline shakes and there’s fresh blood on his front legs. Jager is so tense, it’s difficult to do anything but a cursory exam. But I don’t see any wounds or even where the blood might be coming from.
Criminy, what did this dog get into now?
It’s times like this* that we’re reminded of the enigma of Jager’s breed heritage. We really can’t prove he’s one thing or another. Whether it’s terrier DNA in this dog’s genetics or Shetland sheepdog, Rottweiler or whatever, we do claim a level of confidence that the predominate breed is All American Critter Hunter.
Along with a squeaky toy and an adoption certificate, The Jagermeister came to us with his name. We didn’t give him this title of Hunt Master, but it does fit him well. It is his purpose on this green Earth, he says, to keep our backyard free of all things wild and furry.
The ubiquitous gray squirrel population has been his nemesis. They smack talk each other from their respective places with the typical taunts you’d expect to hear from equal foes. I tell Jager they don’t even know his mother, but there’s no calming him down once the tree rats get under his skin. Still, I don’t see any clues that link this morning’s incident to squirrel related activity.
After Jager calms down and I get most of the blood cleaned off, I still don’t see anything overt. I know I’ll feel better having the vet look him over anyway, so against the vigorous protestations of the spotted dog we make a morning appointment.
There’s this look Jager has when he wears the mantle of the Professional Victim. He drops his ears, darkens his eyes into liquid pools and goes about convincing people his most basic needs are completely and consistently neglected.
For instance, this one time at work, I find Jager having a moment with a co-worker in her cubicle. His head is resting on her leg, big eyes blinking up at her. And she’s hand feeding him cereal from her bowl. I give her credit for flinching a little when she sees me. Jager said he only gets fed on Tuesdays, she says. The same day you let him out of the closet for a few hours.
Yeah, so the dog can work it. And work it well, he does. From the vet’s waiting area to the exam room, he is telling everyone how he got hurt and please don’t stick him with those pointy things because he’s already suffering and that would [sniffle] just make it all worse and won’t someone just give him a cookie or something already.
And whilst I roll my eyes, everyone is all oh poor Jager, you’re so sweet Jager, and such. Until the vet comes in and I try to explain, without sounding like we live like hillbillies, that I think he might have tangled with an opossum in the yard.
|R.O.U.S**, otherwise known as
the Ohio Opossum.
The veterinarian then – this is the dog honest truth now – holds Jager’s head in her hands and looks him in the eye to tell him how dangerous opossums are, what with all those sharp teeth and tiny brains.
With this suggestion of bad-assery, the dog perks up.
Not just a possum!, my pointy headed dog declares. It was a whole fam-damily of ’em. Heck, must have been five or maybe six of the funny looking things. I took the nasty lot of ’em on. Told him to pack their bags and get on their smelly way, that’s what I did.
As the veterinarian writes in her chart, he keeps it rolling. No Rodents of Unusual Size** on my watch! Nope, not with The Jagermeister in town.
Somebody give the dog a smoking pistol to blow on, will you?
He strut-walks back out to the reception area. To all the offerings of pity, he now is bellowing things like Heh, you should see the other guy! And yeah, I told the Food Lady she better fire up the kettle cuz I’m bringin’ home dinner. And I had one of the bugger’s striped tail in my grip and then …
Wait, hold up a sec here. What? A striped tail?
Um, Jager, I say. Opossums have hairless tails, kiddo. Raccoons are the critters with striped tails.
Raccoons? asks Jager. Huh, you don’t say. Are they bigger than possums?
I think so, I say. I guess a suburban raccoon would be pretty big. At least I know they’re meaner and smarter than an opossum so it’s not likely you could have …
Didja hear that, people?, hollers Jager. It was a raccoon. No, wait, it was five raccoons. Yeah, that’s it. And a couple of possums. And that one cat came by …
[sigh] The vet tells me it appears the dog bit his tongue and that’s likely where the blood came from. He could have been running, hit an icy patch and tumbled, she says. A full exam revealed no puncture wounds, just a cut on his tongue that is no longer bleeding.
So what’s a girl to believe?
|And that’s the truth, says Jager.|
*So the photo on the right shares an earlier episode of Jager bad-assery. He tried to run through the fence while chasing the neighbor’s cat from our yard.
**The Princess Bride (1987) Rodents of Unusual Size
(And yeah, I know opposums aren’t rodents. But apparently Jager doesn’t. Let’s let him have this one.)
Buttercup: We’ll never succeed. We may as well die here.
Westley: No, no. We have already succeeded. I mean, what are the three terrors of the Fire Swamp? One, the flame spurt – no problem. There’s a popping sound preceding each; we can avoid that. Two, the lightning sand, which you were clever enough to discover what that looks like, so in the future we can avoid that too.
Buttercup: Westley, what about the R.O.U.S.’s?
Westley: Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist.