“Adorable!” I hear my human squeal from the deck. She pulls her phone out and snaps a picture of me. I keep running, but I suppose I can’t blame her. I am an exceptionally good looking dog.
My official name is Bear; she hardly ever calls me that. More often than not it’s Big Bear — one of my many nicknames. Pooty Butt I don’t really care for. Not only is it unbecoming of a Berner, but my butt is pretty clean as far as dogs go. But now is not the time to think about my butt. No, there is something in the yard that shouldn’t be here.
I got the scent of it all the way in the house. I had to scratch at the door three times before she let me out. In that time, the interloper absconded. All that’s left is a faint trace.
I stake out under the deck. I will stay here for hours if I have to. I dig a hole, just in case that’s true. The dirt helps keep me cool in the August heat. Just as I settle down, I hear a voice above me. “Num nums,” she calls. “Big Bear, come and get some num nums.”
I wish she wouldn’t call them that – what am I, a puppy? I guess she still sees me that way, even though I now weigh 100 lbs. But she ponies up for the good stuff and I might need my strength later, so I go get my treats.
As she goes back in the house, the unwelcome scent nips my nose. I leap off the deck and run like a greyhound to the edge of the garden. Then I freeze. I see our uninvited guest. Its black body coiled like rope. The head raises. A soft tongue slips out in a hiss.
This creature is not my friend. Nor is it my enemy. Still, I know my human would rather it not be here. I cock my head, trying to get a good measure of it. Its tongue is still tasting the air, weighing the situation.
I want the snake to retreat back into the woods and find a new home. But how to convey that without scaring it to attack?
I take a step forward, then another. I do not bark; I do not growl. I inch ever so closer. Another lash of its tongue. I wait. Every muscle in my body alert, I am ready. Yet I do not want to preemptively strike.
The snake uncoils like a ribbon and retreats, slithering away. I watch until it disappears. The female calls me again. “Bear, time to come in.”
“There’s my Pooty Butt,” she says as I run to her. More like snake whisperer I think as she scratches my head. But she doesn’t know. She’ll never know if I have my way. I love her. And she loves me. We just have very different ways of showing it.