The question occurred to me this morning as I was getting Ella outfitted for her morning walk with Laura. (It's 5 degrees Fahrenheit here, with 16 mph winds, so even the dog gets a coat.) Here was our sweet little dog rolling on her back and making tiny grunting noises while I tried to get her harness on her, but she's also the animal who can't see her upstairs neighbor Bear without seizing his neck in her jaws and trying to put him on the ground.
Her brown eyes looked so alien flicking behind their screen of tawny fur that I suddenly found myself wondering, "My God, what if my dog is a Republican?!" I mean, who knows what her political views might be if should could express them? She's fiercely bonded to her family, of course, and tender with us, but the moment the Other shows up on her turf she's quick to put him in his place.
If Ella were a Republican, of course we would love her anyway, but she's made me wonder whether conservatism might be more a product of our biological animal natures and liberalism an expression of our civilized side. Probably not, but maybe the elephant and donkey aren't really all that distinct from each other as symbols.
We bought her a big rubber treat ball for the glad occasion. It has a sort of simple valve where you insert treats, a maze of chambers inside, and an exit at the opposite pole. The dog bats and rolls the rattling ball around until the treat works its way out the exit. It's a ton of fun.
And here's a picture from the front stoop this morning, with Ella holding tight to her other present:
It's name is Weaselmonkey, and it squeaks.
One of the pleasures of owning a dog is taking her for walks at Astoria Park during the morning off-leash hours. Ella loves to chase squirrels, so much so that Laura and I have to call them "rockies" when we talk. If Ella hears the word "squirrel," she instantly goes on high-alert.
Ella has never caught a squirrel, though she comes close sometimes. She is usually startled to round a tree up which her quarry has run and not find the squirrel behind it. Only rarely does she look up and realize that the squirrel is now above her, taunting her. (Yes, Shaun of the Dead fans, dogs can look up.)
Yesterday morning, Ella and I took a long early walk. The squirrel chasing was great. She came close to catching a black squirrel that passed up two perfectly good trees on its run. Are the black squirrels dumber? I'm not sure.
Anyway, after a long circuit of the park, Ella and I neared the infamous Charybdis Playground. I saw a dog we know named Sultan, a large furry black dog, part chow, I think, up ahead near the playground wall. Sultan was sniffing around near the base of the wall behind a tree, maybe pawing at something.
Ella the Wonder Dog saves the day again, this time warning the Invisible Hounds of Hell away from Astoria before they can instantiate a doorway into our dimension.
That combined with a lunch out later today with my birthdaying workmate makes for a great morning at the office.
Oh, and ianmcdonald's latest, Brasyl, just arrived here at the office from Barnes & Noble via courier. (Same-day delivery in Manhattan rocks the free world.) I pre-ordered this months ago, and I had completely forgotten to expect it.
Oh, and Ella and I went to the park this morning for the first time in weeks. She had been limping a little, so we rested her until the limp went away. That makes four, four vonderful reasons to be happy today.