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Cricket Saves The World

Cricket has the weight of the world on her shoulders, and they are very skinny shoulders. She wakes up in the morning believing that she has, single-handedly, kept her Grandma safe over night from all manner of insidious evil. Sometimes she curls up on Grandma’s head to protect her from bad dreams (though not from headaches, clearly).

Cricket thinks she is enormous.

Cricket thinks she is enormous.

“I’ve got you, Grandma.”

When Mom is quilting or making a pair of camouflage pants for one of her grandsons, or his raccoon, I always suggest the she use some of the material to make a superhero cape for Cricket. It wouldn’t be hard to make, but Mom does not believe that Cricket would be willing to wear a cape, or a poncho, or a sweater, or even a sari (we had some lovely diaphanous apricot colored material that I thought would look heavenly on her – but no).

A suitcase is sort of like a cape. Right?

A suitcase is sort of like a cape. Right?

As soon as Cricket has finished guard duty over the sleeping Grandma, she sets her sights on the front door of the apartment, where she senses that there are shadows lurking on the other side, trying to slide through the keyhole. She has been known to race down the hall, with her knees locked and her back feet barely touching the ground, to yell at some vague sound or another.

Cricket believes that every time she hears a noise she needs to make as much and, if possible, more noise in answer. So, one bark from a dog outside equals ten barks from Cricket. Ten footsteps on the stairs equals twenty barks from Cricket. It’s a rule as important as gravity, or conservation of energy. It’s not a form of communication so much as an energy matching plan, to keep us afloat. It keeps the world spinning. And if she can get her sister to bark with her, so much the better.

“What are we barking at, Cricket?”

The big test comes when we leave the building and her feet touch public space. Then she must be even more watchful; so many dangers lurk in the backyard! One of the worst, beyond the daily horror of mail delivery, is the man who walks up the Forbidden hill, at 6:45 in the morning, carrying newspapers!!!!!!

Cricket finds this horrifying. She barks, and pulls at the leash and tries to get her paws up into the air to fight. I drag her, and a bewildered Butterfly, up the Good hill (the one the co-op says we are allowed to walk on, and therefore does not weed or mow), until Cricket can no longer see the offending newspaper man. But she still barks at him in absentia. She barks much longer than any reasonable dog could think it might take for the man to walk down our block of buildings and out of sight.

When I take the dogs back down the hill, Butterfly strolls along but Cricket is still pulling to get to the invisible interloper. She has come very close to hurting herself any number of times by leaping into the air while her leash stays still, because I’m in the middle of picking up her sister’s poop.

Most of the time when we are out in the backyard, Cricket is so busy trying to save the world (from work men, mailmen, neighbors and squirrels) that she forgets to poop. Inside the apartment she was hopping and climbing on me and scratching at my arm or leg in desperation, but outside, there’s too much going on to focus on something as boring as having to poop.

Butterfly’s job is to follow Cricket, to back her up in a worthy cause, or to get in her face and offer some calming doggy breaths when the hysteria has gone on too long. But Butterfly NEVER forgets to poop, or pee, or listen to the birds, or meditate for a bit, or check out the cat food left out for the local feral cats. Butterfly’s priorities are internal. She hears the rhythms of her own body loud and clear and only focuses externally once those needs are taken care of.

“I’m meditating, and it could take a while.”

We finally make our way back to our building, and Cricket is still blinking, and checking from side to side, and imagining newspaper men hiding behind bushes and around corners. The girls have to stand in the lobby of the building while I bring the bag of poop down to the garbage cans in the basement (we have no outdoor garbage cans at the co-op, as a matter of policy that I still don’t understand). I can hear Cricket pacing and checking and sniffing under our neighbor’s door, to make sure that she is safe and sound.

Finally we get back to the apartment, and Butterfly begs for a treat and drinks three buckets worth of water, and Cricket’s throat is sore, and she’s out of breath, and she starts to look around and check in with herself and you can see that moment of confusion when she gives herself a sniff and realizes she forgot to poop.

Being a super hero is hard work, and requires a few sacrifices; just ask Cricket.

“Oy.”

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About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

76 responses »

  1. Did Dogdom put out some sort of bulletin stating that terrorists camouflaged pipe-bombs as newspapers? That’s the only reason I can see for hysteria over the poor paper-guy.

    Reply
  2. I vote for Cricket to be super heroine of the year!

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  3. ramblingsofaperforatedmind

    God forbid our little yappers get together to patrol the neighborhood!

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  4. Oh my goodness! I never knew the work it took to be such a hero!

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  5. Cricket is the biggest little dog I know. Why is it always the little dogs that are the most fearless? I absolutely love it! Such a fun post, Rachel.

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  6. Cricket is a super heroine. A really fun post. Enjoyed very much.

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  7. How Cricket can keep up with it all. It truly is exhausting.

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  8. Wow, talk about dedication, I’m impressed. I can’t help but wonder if Cricket ever looks at Butterfly and wishes for just a tiny bit of her zen. I’m sure Butterfly would be glad to share her zen with her sister. 😀

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  9. You have such loyal and brave little guys- you are right that being a superhero is exhausting! Love the photos!

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  10. Go, Super Cricket!

    Wait…his raccoon?????

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  11. Cricket, become a real superhero(ine) and save the world. You need what Kyla had when the Mayan calendar expired. She saved the world with her tinfoil hat. You should get one of those.

    http://kylascott.com/2012/12/21/how-i-saved-the-world/sam_0231-2/

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  12. Thanks for the ‘Sunday paper’ Rach, I went to bed looking forward to it, and it amused me as always x

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  13. Such hard work, keeping all the bad things at bay! Nicholas knows how it feels! Pip and the boys

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  14. Bless her such big days for such a little doggy :). Love how she tries to get rid of the badness giving your mum headaches. Dogs are really amazing that way.

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  15. Hilarious, as always 😀
    I absolutely loved the title!

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  16. This is so cute. She definitely needs a cape.

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  17. Super brave Cricket. See all and hear all. Maggie got fed up with the noise of the typhoons overhead all day so put her feet up on the fence and barked at the sky!

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  18. Chipper little Cricket. She must be exhausted after her walks just in her protective mode. Charlie sounds off at strange noises anticipating trouble on the home front. Good doggies.

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  19. Cricket sounds like me as a kid… eventually … there is poop lol

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  20. Obviously, superheroes don’t have time to use the bathroom – it’s why you never see them do it in the movies, right? Superhuman holding it in abilities?

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  21. In some ways, our Chicki is more like Butterfly (she never forgets to do her jobs while on a walk) yet Chicki’s a leader, rather than a follower. 🙂
    Very enjoyable post, Rachel!

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  22. Cricket is one of those dogs I like to call “in charge”. My chihuahua has the same trait…has to make sure the house is safe, my car is safe, that there are no villains lurking anywhere…she is ‘in charge.’ I had to laugh at the paper ‘boy’ portion and the mailman…those sort of people, along with Fed-X and UPS delivery men are a special kind of villain apparently. And Huny (my chi) even has come to know the sound of their TRUCKS..they don’t have to approach the house, they just have to drive by for her to go into full “big dog in charge” mode…as does Ms. Cricket apparently. What a busy and interesting life she has!!

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  23. How wonderful to have Cricket to rely on to keep all manner of evildoers away from your home!! Surely she carries the weight of the world on her little shoulders, but she has s-p-u-n-k which is what The Red Man believes is necessary to face all danger.
    Good for Cricket! And lucky for everyone else…:)
    Great post!

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  24. Our dog and cat companions truly are amazing heroes by nature! They look after us so well and with such humility. Sophie (my Shorkie) is willing to risk me being agitated when she barks at night, knowing better than I can what possible dangers lurk beyond the front door portal. I am so grateful for that! And my cat friends Loki and Emily are true heroes too. They have accepted to live a full life within the walls of our home as “indoor cats,” full of unconditional love despite my busy schedule. They stay close, regardless. Together the four of us comprise a Family as complete and sharing as any human family, and probably better than many!

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  25. What a fun story! Cool blog! Light and love, Shona

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  26. Adorable! (I love her name by the way.)

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  27. Aren’t they wonderful! Great writing, Rachel! Or was it Cricket?

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  28. You are a wonderful writer. Love it!

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  29. What a delightful paean to a superior canine! Your dogs are such characters, Rachel. They must bring your family great joy.

    Reply
  30. She has such an adorable face. Thanks for stopping by to like may recent recipe post (Bavarian Bratwurst with Peas, etc.).

    Reply

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