Scaredy Cats (of the Dog and Baby Variety)

I don’t know what it is that has us so jumpy of late. Granted, Kaya has an excuse. She is, after all, only 3 months old and still under the influence of the Startle Reflex. Her whole body freaks out whether I drop a pot, Riley barks for no apparent reason (again and again and again), or she hears me suddenly curse upon realizing I have missed half of Gray’s Anatomy.

Reflexive fear aside, she is intensely scared of one thing. One small, blue, bubbly shaped thing. It is irrational really. To be so terrified of something that could be so helpful. So whether I hover it above her face with me singing and playing and making it a game, or I sneak attack it in with no warning, the millisecond that she even senses The Evil Aspirator is near, out comes The Bulge. Ignoring her tantrum, I keep attempting to clear out her nose. That is, until I consider someone holding a bird over my face as it chirps and flaps and gawks at me with its beady lil eyes and I’m screaming and upset and trying to get away but the bird just stays there, at my face, taunting me, over and over and over again. *shudder*

That’s when I loudly exclaim “Fears are real! They should not be fooled around with! I shall never bring forth The Evil Aspirator again my love!” All the while she is staring quietly up at me, bulge gone, until the tirade, at which point she goes all spread eagle on me and I laugh at how funny it would be if that reflex stayed with us forever.

But then I stop laughing when I consider my own fear of birds. What if I went to Venice and all the pigeons swooped down and I wig out into the spread eagle Startle Reflex and there I am all spread out and more pigeons come and swoop down on me, which freaks me out more, so I reflex some more, and then I’m covered in pigeons and poo and it isn’t until Bal stops laughing hysterically that he finally swoops in himself and rescues me.

That is so not funny. Fears are real people! They must be respected…

Unless you’re a dog. Then it’s just funny.

We were walking along the trails by the rivers tributaries yesterday. It’s the end of the salmon run so there is a waft of rotting salmon in the air. I have to be careful with Riley at this time of year as she has been known, in the past, to eat, or worse, roll amongst the dead fish. This is easier said than done, however, as she is running free and leashless up ahead. I see she has come to a small, wooden bridge and is sniffing over the edge. I approach and she peers over at me while her nose stays pointed down into the creek. It is then that a salmon, a lifeless, upside down salmon, pops up and touches Riley’s nose. Picture a cat, hair up on all ends, all 4 legs pouncing in the air, bewildered look on its face, and this is my dog. After her 4 paws touch ground again, she dashes across the bridge and sheepishly looks back at me who is hysterically laughing at her and the fish, bobbing innocently (if a dead, rotting fish can be innocent) down the stream.

We carry on. Me laughing. Riley pretending once again that she is a fierce, dominant dog. She jumps into her favourite pond (aka- mud pit) and puts her nose under the dark, murky water. Before I know what is happening, she bounds cat-like (again!) out of the water. I actually start to freak out and worry that she has been bitten by who knows what. But that’s when a little stick bobs up out of the water. A stick? I look at Riley and she is tentaviley approaching the stick. She sniffs it and her hackles go up. “It’s a stick Riley! And a dead fish! You are such a wimp. What? Don’t look at me like that dog! That’s way worse than a duck for sure…” I mumble and we carry on defiantly.

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