Thursday, May 24, 2007

Discovering Sprinklers

The other morning Kirby startled at a strange noise in our back yard -- the sound of the neighbor's air conditioning unit turning on -- and I suddenly realized that Kirby has yet to experience a summer. The hissing of sprinklers, the sweet and bitter scent of lawns being mowed, the sudden influx of neighborly information from open windows are all new to him. The last time he experienced these things, if at all, he was a newborn. Kirby came of age during the cool, wet days of fall and winter.

Somehow we skipped spring this year. It seems we went straight from the dark, cloudy, cold weather to hot and dry. Much to our chagrin, the grass is growing what seems like inches per day and everyone is turning on their sprinklers once again.

The other day when we went for a walk it was cool, but over the course of the 45 minutes or so we were out on the greenway the temperature must have risen at least 10 degrees. On the last leg of our walk home both of the dogs were dragging. What had started with much enthusiasm and leash-pulling had turned into a mere saunter, tongues dangling long out the sides of their mouths.

Suddenly Baxter's ears went up (well, up as much as a floppy-eared fellow can). It was the hiss of sprinklers. Suddenly the spring was back in his step. Kirby, still lolling behind had no idea what was going on. Baxter lurched forward and practically dragged both Kirby and me around the corner where the sprinklers were going full blast. He lunged for the water, doing his usual bite-and-drink combination and looking extremely happy to have his face completely soaking wet.

Kirby, meanwhile, had no idea what to do. He was a bit startled at first, but seeing Baxter interacting with these strange objects gave him some courage. He stepped forward onto the grass without paying attention to where the sprayers were and got plastered by a jet of water. At first he jumped, then, realizing just how pleasant it was to be soaking wet on a hot day, he started running around in circles getting himself completely soaked.

After that interlude, both dogs happily trotted home with beards (and entire body in Kirby's case) dripping beneath huge dog smiles. Kirby practically danced home with a joyful puppyesque exhuberance.

Next time we pass a sprinkler, I'm going to have to make sure I'm holding tight to the leashes, because I'll have two dogs making a beeline for refreshment.

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