My dog is a contradiction. Come spend an afternoon at our house on any given day, and you would swear that Electra is the laziest hound that God ever put on this green earth. One of these days, I’d like to keep track of how many hours she actually spends sleeping. She is often ready to go to bed long before Steven and I, and if we happen to leave the bedroom door open we will find her sprawled on the bed and snoring when we finally retire for the night.
Like clockwork, she begins to stir around 6:00 a.m. (sometimes earlier) and begins her subtle Wake-Up-Guys-I’m-Hungry routine, which consists of yawning loudly, stretching, scratching, jumping off the bed, jumping back on the bed, stretching some more, and nudging Steven and I with her wet nose. If all else fails, she either lies down between us and groans at three-minute intervals, or she just climbs up and stands on top of one of us (usually Steven) until we’re annoyed enough to get out of bed.
After breakfast, Electra heads out for her first perimeter check. Most dogs head outside to play or roll in the grass or bask in a patch of sunlight. Not our dog. 99% of Electra’s time outdoors is spent tracking whatever scent her hound dog nose can find. Birds, squirrels, cats, rabbits, frogs, bugs–you name it, Electra will track it. With her nose to the ground and her tail fanning the air so fast it almost sounds like a propeller, Electra yips and barks to let the world know she’s caught a scent.
I often wonder if Electra’s nose is just untapped potential. I wonder if she could be a search and rescue dog, or one of those seizure-sniffing dogs that can alert their epileptic owners before they have a seizure. Maybe she could be a drug-sniffing dog, or a bomb-sniffing dog. Or maybe when Cadence gets older and thinks it’s funny to hide somewhere when she’s supposed to be taking a nap, Electra could sniff out her clever hiding spot.
Watching Electra feverishly stalking her unseen prey, it begins to make sense why the hours spent indoors are usually spent sleeping. Our backyard here is a pretty busy place. There are always birds flitting down from the trees to pick through the grass. There are a dozen squirrels that chase each other through our yard and the neighboring trees. Best of all, there is a family of rabbits that make an appearance at least twice a day, and boy do those rabbits drive Electra wild. She has completely given up trying to covertly stalk them. These days, it’s an all out mad dash out the door the minute she spies one of them in the yard. Morning, noon or night, and no matter whether it’s her first or fiftieth time outside for the day, Electra never fails to find a scent.
This afternoon, I followed Electra outside to get some photos of her doing what she does best.
Once Electra is in tracking mode, there’s not a thing in the world that will break her concentration…well, not a thing except food. When I’d finished photographing her tracking, I headed back toward the house, sat on the patio step, focused my camera on a spot in the yard and called out to her…
“Electra! Electra, come!”
Of course, she ignored me. Then, I uttered the only five words in the world that will stop Electra dead in her tracks and make her come running.
“Are you ready to eat?”