The Pups in the Yard (First Draft)

The pups roamed the backyard, their noses pointed directly towards the ground in search any new and novel smells from creatures that had passed through the yard earlier that morning. Any smell would satisfy their curiosity but only the scent of a squirrel cold really satisfy their playful desires. One of these days, both dogs thought, one of these days we’ll play with a squirrel. 

The squirrels came and went throughout the yard collecting nuts and burring acorns into the damp soil. After the rain was the best time to hunt for acorns, walnuts, pecans, and whatever assortment of seeds they could get their little paws on before the sun’s rays grew too a sweltering hot crescendo later in the day. The mid morning air still cool and gentle meant it was prime time for their daily routine.

Unbeknownst to the pups on the ground two squirrels hid within the trees watching  and waiting for the right opportunity to bale from the yard. Deep within them a sense of fear held them in their place, and yet they knew they were safe. Long had the days gone of outrunning wolfs in the forest, now the wolf’s decedents were nothing more than docile animals with a rough sense of play. A sense of play still too rough for the squirrels liking. Now waiting on the dogs below was nothing more than a mere nuisance in their daily routine. Cats on the other hand were still a problem. Cats could climb trees and pounce from roof to roof making them formidable predators of the squirrels. Only daring a squirrel would ever go toe to toe with a cat. Dogs on the other hand could only bark loudly until their vocal chords went horse, or until their owners called them inside. The squirrels remained hidden in the tree while the dogs below carried out their search.

The two squirrels had not arrived at this yard for collecting nuts, they had already done enough work for today. Instead they were here for the tall tree. In the middle of the yard a tall sycamore tree stretching high into the sky took root. In the sycamore’s trunk a large hollow had been formed, providing shelter for many generations of squirrels like themselves. The two squirrels had moved in recently after the pale squirrel had moved out to another hollow across the neighborhood. All they had to do was climb down the tree they hid in, dash across the yard and up the sycamore and and be home free.

One of the dogs, a smaller black furred dog with bat like ears yelped, well more like bocked like a chicken. The squirrels had become acquainted to this yelp, it was an informational yelp signaling to her partner that something of note had been discovered. The squirrels tensed not out of any particular reason other that instincts driven into their psyches after millions of years of fleeing canines. The black dog yelped again.

Across the like a taxidermied animal frozen the pale squirrel, its albino white coat glowing in the bright sunlight like a ghost. The larger dog, a brown furred one with floppy ears the bat eared dog on the other side of the yard. If the bat eared dog’s yelp was like the bock of a chicken the brown furred dog’s bark was like the howl of a wolf. The two dogs began singing a chorus of high toned bocks and low pitched howls. The squirrels tensed again. Again not because they knew they were in danger, but because their instincts thought they were. If the ghostly white squirrel across the yard had any sense in it it would climb to the other side of the fence and hide out until the coast was clear. But if the stories of the pale squirrel were true that would not be the case. 

Voices of the owners of the dogs joined in on the chorus as they shouted the dog’s names through through open windows. The usual routine for most squirrel and dog run ins.

the pale squirrel scanned the yard, its head roving back and forth like an owl’s. Once it had plotted the best route through the yard it was time to make its move. Leaping from the fence with its front and hind legs outstretched flattening its body like a leaf it flew through the air, and stuck the landing with perfect form. 

The dog’s duet crescendoed into one of excitement. It was finally happening, they thought, finally a squirrel had answered the pleas to play with them. As if it had answered their calls the pale squirrel dashed across the yard, zigging and zagging along the way. Inside the house the shouts of “quiet” grew louder for their owners, but the pups were too busy focusing on their new playmate. 

The large brown dog always overestimate his agility, it futilely stumbled as it tried to keep up with with the squirrel, nearly toppling over at points along the path. The smaller more nimble bat eared dog on the other hand could keep up with their new playmate, but only marginally better than her brown furred brother. Not trained in any sort of hunting tactics at all all the two pups could do was follow their instincts on how to catch this dang squirrel. Which amounted to a rather klutzy looking ballet on four paws. The pups tumbled into each other on multiple occasions as the large brown furred dog lumbered behind the zig zagging squirrel. Between the bat eared dog’s quick speed, the brown furred dog’s lumbering demeanor, and their collective tunnel vision: the two four legged beast collided with one another not once, not twice, but thrice in their little “play session.” By the time the pale squirrel had made it across the yard and onto the opposing fence, the pups only at the halfway point of the yard, still determined in their playtime, sped towards the fence. Their little “play session” ended with two loud thuds into the neighbor’s fence. 

After the riot that had been the dance between the dogs and the pale squirrel had ended, one of the owners had finally stepped out of the house, a lanky young man wearing a red shirt, black shorts and slippers. Not having it anymore he shouted their names and called them dogs inside tempting them with two delicious smelling treats. The pups, quite embarrassed by their attempt to play with the albino squirrel, dashed to the door and took the treats as a consolation prize. 

The squirrels hidden in the tree breathed a collective sigh of relief. They climbed down their tree and crossed the yard and climbed up the tall sycamore and into the hollow they now could call home. They knew that the dogs will be back, they were a part of the deal with living in the neighborhood, but they shouldn’t fret. If anything the dogs were mere entertainment for their new home in the sycamore.

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