There’s a game we love to play when the dogs are sleeping. We choose a dog, place an article of food or a dog treat on the ground directly in front of that dog’s nose and wait and see if the scent permeates the dog’s dreams.
Today, Tater Tot hunted his heart out. He is curled up and passed out cold in the dirt beside the stove, breathing slow and heavy under the hot weight of a sagebrush fire. Robert reaches out and places a conglomerate lump of granola in front of Tater’s supernatural little nose and we sit in silence, watching and waiting, snickering to ourselves, smiling with squinty eyes at each other across the conical dark of our little home. Nothing happens. Robert grows impatient and begins to whisper at Tater. He says his name in a sing-song tone, he whispers all kinds of silly things, trying to pull Tater’s subconscious forth from the thick sand of sleep. Nothing rouses the pup. Finally I lean forward and I whisper gently, “Tater Tot, dead bird, fetch!”
Tater opens one eye, looks right at me, resembling a dragon on a hoarded bed of gold, he shifts once, catches a whiff of the granola nugget, reaches out, lips it up, crunches it once, swallows, immediately tucks his head under his rear feet and plunges back into sleep.
I slip out to pee before bed. The milky way spills forth over the canyons. The sage shudders in the wind.