It has been many months now since my first great triumph and those nightmares which began in puppyhood still sometimes return. However, I have learned to live with the mysteries in my life, though I will never give up trying to solve them. I see my exploration of the world as the continuation of the mission that Orange Boy and I set out on so long ago; he and I vowed to venture into the hidden recesses of time and space, to sniff the myriad smells of life and even of death, and to bravely confront danger whenever it appeared.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the home of a friend of mine, a Mr. Bailey, cockapoo. This is also the home of Woman’s parents. I have long felt that there was something to be learned here, and always eagerly take advantage of the opportunity to investigate this area.
While running around the yard, I checked in on many familiar sights and smells: the chicken coop, the turkey coop, and the gardens. I saluted the marks which Mr. Bailey has left as the emblems of his guardianship.
I visited with Mr. Bailey, playing a friendly game of basketball and inquiring what he had been eating and how he had kept himself since last we met. He lives a fairly quiet life, though he has frequently had to guard his humans from such unwanted vagrants as wild turkeys and squirrels, which plague his neighborhood. He joined me on a leisurely jaunt around the house before excusing himself for a quiet rest in the house.
Reader, I will not attempt to conceal from you that I won that basketball game. Mr. Bailey did not put up much of a defense–or an offense–not that I blame him, really. I am incredibly fast.
On my own again in Mr. Bailey’s absence, I quested about the yard for new scents and discoveries. In the woods near the house there was evidence of many wild beasts, as well as the occasional trace of Woman’s parents or of Mr. Bailey. At one point, I studied my surroundings from the top of a large rock, which still retains traces, for one with a nose such as mine, of the days when glaciers crept slowly over New England.
There was one curious incident which I feel I must relate. I did have the misfortune to lose the tennis ball I was carrying in the stream when I paused to drink there. Before I realized what was occurring, the ball had drifted downstream into the the metal tunnel which runs underneath under the ground where humans walk. I stuck my head into the tunnel to try to snatch it back, but I was too late. With my head in the tunnel, I caught a whiff of a curious, and somehow familiar smell–it reminded me of something–of someone–from my past. I was suddenly desperate to smell it again and to discover its source. I lay in the stream and attempted to enter the tunnel. Just as my shoulders were passing the edges of the metal, Woman called me back, and I had to retreat. I lost the scent. I went to the other end of the tunnel, but neither the ball nor the scent was to be found there.
When I returned to Woman and Man to walk beside them for a few moments, I realized what it was that I had smelled in the tunnel: Orange Boy! Where was he? Why was his scent here–how could it be here, so many miles from our puppyhood home and from the place of his supposed demise? I ran like a wild coyote through the woods trying to catch the scent or sight of my brother, but in vain.
We left Mr. Bailey’s premises later that day, and without having learned anything further to enlighten me regarding the mystery of my brother. I did question Mr. Bailey on the subject, but he reported no dogs who looked like me wandering about. I did leave my scent in a few places in the hope that Orange Boy, if he was truly there, would know that I was near.
Perhaps I am mad, dear reader. Maybe my nose is not so good as I thought it was…but am I not able to find my humans when they hide from me? Can I not detect ground hamburger the moment that it is taken from the refrigerator? This very morning, while Woman was asleep, did I not determine that there was a treat for me in her purse, and did I not carefully go through the purse, removing other items until I found it? Did I not accept my punishment for finding this treat prematurely?
No, it is not my nose that is at fault, though perhaps my strong desire to smell my brother again influences my thoughts and brings me to the wrong conclusions.
Is this mystery, this obsession of mine, just something that I’ve fixed upon in dull moments to add spice to my life? After all, as the great detective, Sherlock Holmes once said in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing,
My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence. These little problems help me to do so.