Monday, December 12, 2011
Every Dog-Damn Year
“Grab your coat, Ewing,” Chase called into the lunchroom. “We’ve got another one.”
“Already?” Bo eyed his veggie sub with regret, then wrapped the remains and stuck it in the fridge. He hooked his jacket with the EMT patch off the back of his chair. “Don’t they ever learn?”
“Nope,” Chase said amiably. “They’re pups. Every year they have to learn the same lessons all over again. You telling me you never did stupid things when you were a kid?”
“Of course I did. I just did different stupid things.” Bo shook his head. “It’s always wolves. What is it with you mutts?”
“No idea. Maybe it’s genetic. By the way, Milton won the pool. He had two days after the first freeze.”
“If he’s smart, he’ll spend it on Bonnie.”
Chase snickered. “Nobody ever said Milton was burdened with brains. Better let me drive. I’ll handle it when we get there.”
Bo shrugged. He wasn’t offended. No wolf wanted to owe favors to a herbivore. Assuming Gray Chase was a wolf. He had one blue eye to go with the shifter gold eye, and in animal form he looked like a Malamute, at least in Bo’s opinion. Chase claimed his pack had human mixed in with the bloodline, which tended to make them look doggy. Not that Bo cared either way.
He also didn’t mind a bit if Chase wanted to handle the rescue. Given the particulars, he was more than happy to keep his hands to himself.
They pulled onto Chaney Street and spotted the pack right off. There were six of them, four human, two in wolf form. Not counting the victim, of course. The victim was wolf, shivering beside the fire hydrant with his leg stuck in the air. His packmates took turns supporting him so he wouldn’t tear anything vital if his trembling legs gave way. Bo estimated their average age at around 13. Naturally.
Chase slid out from behind the wheel. “Okay, what have we got?” he said, like he couldn’t see for himself.
The alpha of their little group stepped forward. “Petey’s stuck,” he said. “We didn’t think it could happen. We thought it was, you know, an urban legend.”
“Uh-huh.” Chase said. Bo didn’t say anything. They’d know by his scent he was herbie, but his size would keep them respectful. “Let me guess. Some coyote double-dog dared you, right?”
The wolf pups looked at each other, then at the sidewalk. The pup stuck to the hydrant whimpered. “Right,” Chase said. “Let’s give the hair dryer a whirl.”
Bo nodded and hooked up the blow dryer to the EMT van’s lighter. In similar cases they usually used hot water. However, this wasn’t a tongue, and the pup wouldn’t let boiling water get anywhere near the afflicted body part. Better you than me, he thought, handing the dryer to Chase.
Once the blower got up to peak temperature, the two put on their gloves and in short order got the wolf pup detached from the hydrant. He plopped down on the sidewalk, whimpering. “Don’t,” Chase warned, when he moved to lick his abused prong. “You don’t want to get stuck to the sidewalk. Word to the wise, boys. When it gets this cold, use trees. Better still, stay human, and keep yourselves bundled up.”
“Yes, sir,” the whole pack mumbled. They left in a clump, the victim a trifle unsteadily.
“Now,” Chase said, “we wait.”
“Retaliation. As soon as the pup’s feeling better, they’ll be going after the coyotes. Bet we have a pack brawl by nightfall.” Chase growled under his breath. “Every dog-damn year.”
“Maybe not. Coyotes are slick. They’ll hide out for awhile. What’s with these mutts? Why can’t they just lick a flagpole like the human kids do?”
“It’s a canine thing. How about a coffee before we head back? You’re buying. I’d say I’ve earned it.”
“You got it.” They climbed back into the van. This time Bo drove.
Emergency rescue in Talbot’s Peak. Never a dull moment.