15 April 2009

The time that Team Small Dog met the Water Hyacinth Goose.

Usually, when Team Small Dog goes for a walk, the 2 team members collectively known as mayhem stay on leashes unless they're at the beach or in the forest or in their field. Because when they're loose, there is running and when there is running there isn't always listening. To put it mildly. The team member known as perfect citizen of the world Ruby, rarely has to wear a leash unless the area is rife with cats or squirrels, in which case then she has to stay on a leash with the other 2 degenerates, which she hates. But usually, she just walks with me.

Good citizen.



So yesterday, I was driving home from work and I decided to stop at Freedom Lake. That's a generous name for a blob of water out near Freedom Blvd, a low spot in a little valley of apples and strawberries and mobile homes and wood cutting yards known as Corralitos. Over the years, it's become thicker and thicker with water plants, to the point of the lake, choking on it's own watery slime. The water choking plant's name is Water Hyacinth. Which, you have to agree, is a beautiful and glamorous name. Doesn't it make you picture a raven haired mermaid, like the Starbucks one, draped luxuriously over the faux cheetah upholstery of a gold flake lowrider Chevy with midnight blue pinstriping? With exploding periwinkle blossoms everywhere in the pink and orange sky?

Me too.

But really, Water Hyacinth is a weed that no one likes and it's filling the lake up so the lake is sad and dying and now mostly populated with wrinkly, leathery skinned Latino gentlemen wandering it's shores in crisp white cowboy hats and faded work dungarees. And shifty eyed teenagers in black hoodies. Hardly anyone wants to visit Freedom Lake anymore. The siren song of Water Hyacinth mostly singing out to people that enjoy dropping beer cans in the lake's murky shallows.

I pass the lake every day, driving out to the ranch. Decided to stop yesterday and take a little stroll, something new and different to do on a windy, blustery evening. So off we go. Mayhem is on their leashes and Perfect Citizen, trotting along behind us. Behind us until, we reach the shore of the lake and amongst the Water Hyacinths, we see this.

A goose.

I don't think we've really seen too many genuine geese ever before. Actually, never. But Ruby used to see some ducks that would hang out in a puddle at Lighthouse Field every year, and there was one thing on her mind when she saw those ducks.

Get 'em.

And before I can say a word, Ruby is off and running into the lake, after the goose. Except Ruby forgets one problem. She is the dog that doesn't swim. She sinks. None of my dogs are great swimmers, but Ruby, really not even a bad swimmer. A sinker. And before she knows it, she has swum, half sinking, out after the goose and has found herself a floating log to hold herself up.

There's no picture of this part, because I am holding on to TOTAL FREAKING Mayhem now, who also wants them a goose and a swim and a Ruby, and calling out to the now befuddled, miserable, soaking citizen who has managed to find a floating log and is holding on with her front legs, floating farther and farther out in the pond. And just to make it even better, the goose has turned around and is coming right at her.

She looks back at me, blinking back the misery, and her eyes say, "GET ME OUT OF HERE NOW."

And then at the goose. Which is floating it's way through the slime, perhaps wondering if Ruby tastes like chicken.

Mayhem wants to swim through the slime. They don't care. The goose, basically a fat, feathery squirrel and who cares about a bunch of wet slime.

I'm torn. My options are plentiful.
A-Take a photo?
B-Unleash mayhem?
C-Swim through the muck to rescue sweet doggy floating on loggy?
D-Throw a beer can at the goose?

Can't really take a photo, because if she drowns or is eaten by the goose, boy will I feel shitty. Also, I can barely hold on to mayhem, let alone the camera. No plan A. Plan B, unleashing mayhem would no doubt be seriously entertaining, but perhaps take a really long time to corral and involve then plan C times 3 if everyone gets stuck out there. And have no free hands to try plan D. That goose, one big ugly face though.

In the end, I just keep calling her name, she keeps looking at me, the goose, at me, the goose, and breaks free from her log and does the most pathetic sink swim back in to the shore. I can't help laughing at her, shaking off the wet and the slime, soaked to the bone, as the goose swims back and forth in front of us.

"Bubba," I tell her, as we walk back down the path, back to the car, her shaking and dripping in the icey cold wind, "You know what they say. Bad for life, good for story."


Elayne said...

Poor Ruby but that was a good laugh. Geese can be pretty aggressive and it doesn't take much to rile them up. My husband's been chased numerous times while he was riding his bike past them on a bike path.

Elf said...

Oh, I was terrified for Ruby and laughing all the time while reading this. I was terrified by a gigantic (about 10 feet tall with a wingspan of maybe 18 feet, if I recall correctly) angry goose (did you know that they hiss when they're really mad? Aren't they supposed to honk or something?) in a garden in Hawaii once. I never did see most of the garden because it was protected by a killer goose. Poor ruby.

team small dog said...

this would be a test. not a goose.

Elf said...

Perhaps I exaggerated a bit on the size. And the glowing red eyes. But really, it was a goose and it was making this hissing sound. Maybe it was so angry that "honk" got caught in its throat.

Elf said...

Or was yours really a swan?

Those ugly ducklings are hard to tell apart sometimes.