I feel fall coming. Cooler temperatures, declining stress, new hunting license, fox squirrels going about their squirrelish business with renewed vigor, Cate understandably raising hell all day long, and, thus far, my dear, long-suffering neighbors not complaining to the authorities.
Jane tells me to make her hush. I respond that you probably shouldn't reprimand a tree dog - especially a pup - for treeing - or "roofing," or "fencing," as the case may be.
In hot weather, fox squirrels, like gray squirrels, are most active early and late in the day. No problem. Let the dogs in just before sunrise then turn them back out around mid-morning.
Now, the squirrels are active all day, scurrying about roofs, running along the top of my fence, trying to get at the last of my tomatoes, and generally keeping little Cate in a state of high and noisy alert.
I cannot safely shoot the squirrels with my pellet gun. Believe me, I've given it serious thought. Blessed silence plus baked squirrel.
We'll tough it out. Hunting season opens October 1. Cate can get her squirrel fix in the woods, then lie around my office dreaming squirrel dreams.
Yesterday afternoon, I gave up and let the dogs in. After sniffing everything in my office at least twice, they lay down and commenced snoring. A bit later, as I stared at the monitor and considered superfluous adverbs or wondered if there were any new entries at the Atlantic Monthly blog and otherwise worked very hard at not working, Cate cut loose at the top of her lungs. In my small office. With the door closed.
After I regained my wits and breath, I spun around to find both dogs staring at the ceiling, ears perked, brows furrowed. Then I heard the unmistakable patter of a squirrel running along the roof.
There was nothing to do but say, "Good girl!" and try to keep Cate from jumping on my desk.