12 September 2009

Lucy's weekend

The kiddos are here for the weekend. These particular kiddos include Z, one of our three, plus new hubby B, hereafter to be known as the Z/B+L team. 'L' is for 'Lucy', their 4-yr-old Jack Russell, who goes everywhere with them. Well, not quite everywhere. Right now she's lying on the bed in the guest room, probably counting the minutes until Mama and Papa's return from a shopping trip.

L is as close to human as a canine can get – which is very close indeed. She doesn't seem to appreciate that there's any significant difference in nature between herself and her beloved foster parents. She can't quite run their lives as much as she would like, else they'd never go away and leave her, even for a minute. But she does command a good deal of their attention and affection when they are together, even if it's clear to her that she's not top dog. This seems to suit her temperament. Even though she is obviously fiercely loyal to her immediate family, she still displays a loving and trustful nature toward us, probably recognising we are somehow related, part of her extended 'pack'.

A ratter by pedigree, L makes a beeline for certain spots at our place as soon as she arrives. A particular rock alongside the stairs leading down to the pool is one favourite spot. A collection of rocks at the base of one of our bird feeders is another. Lizards and toads probably hide in the spaces behind these rocks – or maybe even the odd snake (god forbid). L would like very much for me to move all of these rocks as soon as she gets here, to give her access to whatever it is that her sensitive nose tells her is worth digging out.

On this visit, she's selected another spot – this one indoors, in A's little office, where she has rarely bothered to venture on past visits. Years ago, the area behind the desk and an adjacent large cupboard in this converted verandah space were known hiding places and getaway routes for a family of mice. Once, too, a little tommy roundhead dragon lived behind and around the tall cupboard for many weeks. This lizard seemed to have got himself marooned there. He probably snuck in when the screen door was ajar for some reason. I never liked leaving the door open too long because years earlier, we had found a ground snake of indeterminate species curled up on the floor in that little room. My good neighbour, D, managed to shoo that one outside, using only a long-handled broom. His calm sweeping of the snake in the direction of the exit door was not much helped by my excited yelping from the safety of a nearby bedroom. (We hadn't lived here long and I wasn't yet acclimatised to the local wildlife. Later I became more laid back about little emergencies of this kind, one of which I have described in Drop-in visitors: The legless variety.) After that first snake incident, we found a small hole at the point where the cement floor of the former verandah met the house's own cement slab. So that entry point was long since blocked off when the little dragon suddenly appeared. And since we couldn't manage to extricate him, we resorted to feeding him instead. Every evening I would leave a small saucer of water out on top of the cabinet, and a little knob of beef mince which was always gone in the morning. We would occasionally see the dragon clinging to the roughly-hewn cedar weatherboards that lined the wall behind the cupboard. But eventually, he must have found a way out, for the knobs of mince were no longer taken and we stopped seeing him.

Since the nobby dragon moved on, the cement floor in the room has been tiled. The cedar weatherboards sanded and the whole room given two coats of paint. And we have not seen another mouse, lizard or snake in the room for years. I did find a whole colony of black ants, complete with eggs, packed tightly into A's printer in there – this toward the end of the several months we spent away from home while A was in hospital. On this occasion, I'd come home for a quick overnight visit to collect some paperwork, and went into the office to use the printer to photocopy something. On lifting the printer lid, I got a terrible shock to see a fully functional ant colony jam-packed under the glass. Lacking the energy it would take to clean up such a mess at that harrowing time, I bundled the inexpensive printer and its resident ant farm into a trash bag and dumped the lot into the bin on my way out the gate.

Could L still be sniffing one or more of those former residents? Mice, lizard and snake all predated the sanding, sealing and painting. Even the big old cupboard has been sanded down and refinished since then. Could L's nose be that sensitive? Or must I face the fact that there is, yet again, something living behind that cupboard. The question is: Do I want to know what?

I think I'll wait until L's next visit to investigate further. One thing I know for sure: if I do suspect there is some 'feral' living within the walls of my house, I know who to call on to sniff it out for me.

1 comment:

Zoe said...

We have first-hand experience that it is worth trusting Lucy's nose! ;-) The last time she was incredibly focussed on a spot (for a few days, mind you) we thought she was going crazy. She would not leave our old kettle bbq alone - stared at it, whinged and whined, and needed to be near it at all times. We lifted the bbq up and showed her there was nothing in there... and just as I was about to give up on her mental status for good, out rushed a rat and Lucy made a grab for it!! She promptly let go just as soon as she could - she didn't really know what to do with it! A good case of 'be careful what you wish for' xxxx Zoe

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I started this blog in 2009 when I became a full-time caregiver. My husband had been diagnosed a few years earlier with primary progressive aphasia. Over the next four years until his death in 2013, we went on a journey of discovery about this rare condition. My blog is about what I learned, how we both coped and how the journey deepened our love and appreciation of each other. Allen’s journey is over, but mine goes on.