Bisou has a new friend, a big, blond Cavalier fellow named L***.Whenever they see each other, they fall into each other\’s arms, like Tristan and Isolde after drinking the magic wine. But unlike T&I, the love scene doesn\’t last long, and they each quickly return to their private obsessions, Bisou with her ball and L*** with squirrels.
The latter didn\’t manifest until L***\’s owner brought him over for a play date with Bisou. At first all went as usual: joyous greeting followed by racing around the cottage looking for the cat Telemann. Unfortunately our sun room\’s sliding glass doors give directly into the backyard, which functions as the village square for the local squirrels, who come in search of spilled bird seed, water from the bird bath, and the society of other squirrels. The minute L*** saw a squirrel at the bird bath, he stuck his nose to the glass, eyes bulging, tail wagging, shivering with excitement, and there was nothing any of us could do to distract him.
\”This is so weird,\” his owner said. \”At home he never watches the squirrels, but it\’s probably because there is a screened-in porch between our glass door and the backyard.\”
After a few more play dates during which even Bisou gave up trying to lure L*** away from his obsession, we reasoned that if we gathered at L***\’s house he would be able to concentrate on playing with his friend. Our arrival chez L*** elicited from both dogs the usual yelps of ecstasy, frantic circling and thoughtful mutual sniffing. L***\’s owner brought out a selection of balls and squeaky toys that immediately got Bisou\’s attention.
But where was L***?
L*** was at his sliding door, nose pressed to the glass, looking for the squirrels that he assumed followed Bisou wherever she went. \”Bisou is here,\” he reasoned. \”Therefore, there must be squirrels.\”
So certain was he of this that, again, it was impossible to distract him. He did chase a couple of balls, but his heart wasn\’t in it. His heart was with the invisible but nevertheless very real entourage of squirrels that accompanied Bisou like rodent paparazzi.
Compared to other dogs I\’ve known, Cavaliers often strike me as a little odd, albeit in the nicest possible way. I\’ve heard of some that have to be kept indoors in the summer so they won\’t exhaust themselves chasing butterflies. In her youth, Bisou was obsessed with the frogs that lived in the pond behind our previous house. Not that she wanted to bite them, God forbid. But she delighted in bopping them with her nose so that they would jump into the water with that satisfying plop. Half the time it was Bisou who ended up in the water, but that did not dissuade her, and if we hadn\’t moved away, I\’m sure she\’d still be hanging out by the pond, hoping for frogs to bop.
Sometimes when I ask her to sit, or to come to me, she looks at me with a strange, not unfriendly look that seems to say, \”Have we met before?\” And that\’s when I\’m reminded that she\’s not a little red person with a tail, but a dog, and that most mysterious and quirky of dogs, a Cavalier.