Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dancing Toes, Bumps and Play Bows

By Linda Grupp Boutin

Recently a new routine has developed in our household, especially when the dinner hour approaches. After spending a day basking in the California sunshine, the basenjis decide it is time to come in and look for dinner. First a polite scratch on the back door, soon followed by more and more insistent scratching, finally if they don't get the desired response long scratches down the screen on the nearest window compelling me to run to the backdoor to save what is left of it.

Let the entertainment begin! The second the door opens, Star and Kindu tumble in racing one another to get inside and flop down on the carpet in front of the couch. Entry achieved, now it is time to pursue kibble-filled bowls after a big drink of water. If I dare tarry, Star soon bows politely to Kindu inviting him to play a game. He bounds up and rushes over to join in the fun.

To me, this game looks very little like fun. First he wraps his mouth around her neck. She bends down to grab him by any foot with her own bite. Frequently she tumbles to the floor, he tries to take advantage of his top-dog position, and she shoves him forcefully off and back, all four of her feet pushing. She jumps up off the floor, play bows again, looks over her shoulder coyly and says with a coquettish look, "I dare you to try it again!"

Kindu jumps back into action going for a different hold, Star spins in a circle and dashes off leaving him sucking air and wondering what she will do next. Sometimes the whole game explodes in fast running around the room and through the whole house if the bedroom doors are open. Up onto the bed, whip around in a circle, race back up the hallway, jump onto the couch, scramble over to the love seat, do a couple laps around the dining table, then pause for a drink side by side at the water bowl.

I begin to wonder if their dinners will do them any good considering how quickly they are working off the calories. I must admire the grace and fluidity of their movements. Star dances circles around Kindu who is very fast in his own right. Always having been a bit of a clutz, watching the furry kids show off their stuff bring smiles and laughter to my lips. And no matter how tough my day has been, my little companions remind me of the important things in life.

To them, dinners are worth dancing for, fun should be shared with those you love, and mischief keeps our all-too-human pride in check. These little friends invite me to keep life in perspective, to be thankful for the gifts God grants me, and to be take joy in every moment I am granted.