January Surprises with a Fairy Dusting for Izzy to Sneeze at

This morning when Izzy and I stepped out the door before the sun rose, our backyard surprised us.  When I was a kid, I thought that the light dusting we often got — you know the one:  the grass and trees have a coating of white that disappears before lunchtime — was powdered sugar and I wanted a taste.  This morning, that’s just what it looked like outside.  My lawn furniture (which I should bring in, but I’m too lazy) had a coating, as did my car.


This is our first true snow of the season, so to see the ivy bushes with their heavy red berries looking quite Christmas-y almost felt like the holidays were upon us once again.


Izzy, half asleep as he usually is on our first walk of the day, did his duty by making sure that every telephone pole  and bush got a generous dose of his pee.  He didn’t pay attention to the snow until we came back to our street.

Walking along the neighbor’s grass, Izzy lowered his face to the snow and did as he usually does when he’s getting ready to poop — he sniffed, a good long one.  And he got a snoutful of icy cold snow.  He popped off the ground as if he’d just snorted coke — and did a little dance like the one I do when I have an ice cream headache:  part pleasure, part pain, tickles but it hurts.  Then he did it again, and again, he did a little dance.  Not until the third time he lowered his nose did he realize that he couldn’t take a deep inhalation.  Though he paced back and forth a million times like he usually does, he kept his face at least four inches from the ground.  And he gave me a dirty look when I couldn’t stop giggling at him.

When we got back to the house, he retreated to my bed, only  lifting his head when he saw me get my coat on and get ready to leave.  He didn’t move to go out again, though.  Wonder why.



Izzy spends the weekend days and nights at my screen door, looking out on the street and letting me know if anyone comes too close to the house 🙂  He’s a guard dog as long as he’s behind the door, but if he’s out on the street, he just wants to meet all the new dogs in the neighborhood and greet those he already knows.

I spent Saturday writing, so I was in my office and looking out on the same street Izzy sees from his door.  It’s early Fall and the day glowed with that special light autumn days embody.  We made excuses for more walks than our usual, mostly because I needed to stretch after sitting in my office chair for so long — and Izzy had to see the people and “other beings” who had walked by the house during the day.  The last week at 10 PM presented the gift of a star-filled sky, high-flying planes that competed with the brightest stars, and a glimpse of what I think was Venus near the half moon.  I breathed deeply, sure that all was right within my world and comforted by the thought that there is so much more than what exists within the perimeters of Roxboro.


Izzy took his seat again on Sunday afternoon as I did my laundry and ironing.  The weather, as gorgeous as Saturday’s, enticed more people to take a walk, and I really didn’t pay much attention to what was going on unless Izzy growled or did his squirrel dance (on his back two legs) in front of the door . . . until I heard a tinkle-clink-clank-tinkle-clink like a broken ice cream truck going by.  Izzy came to where I stood at the ironing board, dancing and whining, then went back to the door as if trying to tell me something.  Curious, I followed him and heard the sound but didn’t see anything.  Still, he wouldn’t calm down.

A couple of minutes later, he still hadn’t calmed down and kept going to the back door, then coming to the dining room like he does when he wants to tell me to take him out.  Though we had gone for a walk only half an hour before, I gave in and put him on the leash.  He scrambled through my gravel driveway, choking on his collar and trying to get me to walk faster.  I could tell he had picked up the scent of something and thought it was the groundhog we have in the backyard (that has pretty much destroyed my garden).

On the way down the street, Izzy was at “high alert” but I still didn’t see anything.  Then a van coming toward us slowed down and stopped in front of us.  The window rolled down and a heavyset, older woman in a flowered dress leaned out.  “You might not want to walk up that way,” she said, motioning toward Izzy.  “There’s a brown pitbull wandering around up there.  He’s dragging a 6-8′ chain, so I think he got loose from someone’s yard.  He’s kinda big.  Your pup wouldn’t stand a chance.”

I thanked her and wondered whether it was the same one that my friend, the old man, was having trouble containing when Izzy and I walked earlier this week.  Then I realized he never had a chain on that dog.  And I realized instantly where the loose pitbull had come from.  The night before when Izzy and I were out, I heard howling, barking and growling from beyond the railroad tracks.  I’ve heard it before, and it’s obviously a group of dogs that are either caged or within close proximity of each other.  I’ve seen several pitbulls with some rather large guys who walk them up my street and can barely hold onto the dogs when they see Izzy.

I think there’s a dogfighting ring close by . . . and I’m feeling two emotions:  fear that my Izzy wouldn’t have a chance if any large dog became violent and compassion for those dogs who are chained up in a yard or made to fight when they should be in a loving home.  Now my journalistic curiosity is aroused.  I need to find out what’s going on.