Zephyr, Wylie, and Vader

This week I’m house-sitting and dog-sitting while I’m in Milwaukee performing at the WI State Fair. I always stay with my mother-in-law for Milwaukee gigs. It’s awesome. Partly because I can bring my dog (he gets along really well with Lynn’s dog), but also because it’s so much nicer and more comfortable than staying in a hotel for 11 days. This year Lynn and my wife decided that it would be a good time to take a trip. They are off in Yellowknife Canada (WAY up there, almost to the Arctic Circle), and at the same time my sister-in-law and her family went on vacation too (without their dog). So here I am with three dogs. It’s just four guys hanging out. Not much talking going on, but there’s lots of sniffing and wrestling. It’s pretty great.

When working at the fair my hours can be pretty variable, but basically I am home a little after six or seven each evening. Monday was my first night where it was just the dogs and me. On my way home from the fair I had meant to stop at the store to pick up a couple of things. The reason to do it on the way home is so that I didn’t get the dogs all riled up with my arrival, and then immediately leave them again, thus making them more crazy. But I was already home and didn’t want to leave the dogs again, so it was time for a bachelor adventure in the car. Two of the dogs (Vader and Zephyr) are fine off leash as long as there are no bunnies around, and the third dog (Wylie) has to be on-leash all the time. I put Wylie on-leash and the four of us got in the car and went off to the store.

It was a nice, quick little adventure, and we were pulling back in to the driveway in 15 minutes. As I pulled in I saw that there was a bunny sitting within 6 inches of the edge of both the street and the driveway. I rolled Vader’s window up enough so that he wouldn’t jump out, and he gave that bunny the major “I’m gonna eat you” stink-eye. Amazingly, even with Vader leering directly overhead, the bunny didn’t move. We got to the end of the driveway at the back of the house, and forgetting about the bunny, I got out and opened the door for the dogs. Vader had not forgotten. I was reaching for Wylie so I could put the leash on him when Vader made a break for the bunny at the front of the house. My momentary distraction of trying to call Vader back meant that I missed Wylie’s collar, and then Zephyr got past me as well. Three dogs on the hunt. It was 9pm, and the street was dark so I didn’t think there would be any car traffic, but it was warm enough that the neighbors had their windows open, so I was trying to not yell too loudly to get the dogs back. Big surprise, that didn’t work.

The bunny sprinted across the street and under the neighbor’s porch. Vader and Wylie were in pursuit, and when Wylie got right up next to the neighbor’s window he let out one of his astonishingly loud, blood-curdling bark-howls. And then another. And then another. In a matter of moments Wylie’s bark-howls and my yelling had all four neighbors out of their houses. I had gotten Zephyr by the collar, and I was trying unsuccessfully to get Vader and Wylie under control. The neighbors, who I had never met before, were all very nice and helped me get Wylie on-leash. Since I only had the one leash with me, I got the other two dogs excited about running home with me, and we were off as I called a thank you and an apology to the neighbors. It was more than a little embarrassing.