October 09, 2007

The Squirrel Isn't There

It wasn't skunks this time. Neither was it snakes, or even rabbits. This time, it was a squirrel.

Saydee saw it first. She bolted ahead of me, chasing after that squirrel as fast as her four paws would carry her. I came trotting up behind her, as fast as my two running-shoe-clad feet would carry me.

The smaller animal outran the larger. After a short chase of about twenty yards, the squirrel disappeared into a hole in the hard, dry clay. Saydee stuck her nose into the hole and barked.

"What's the matter?" I asked when I caught up. "Did the squirrel get away from you?"

"Woof!" Saydee said. Translation: "No, it didn't get away; I've got it trapped -- it's down here in this hole."

At that moment, a movement about ten feet away caught my eye. With her nose still in the hole, Saydee didn't see it, and therefore she didn't realize that the hole in the ground had another exit, and that the squireel had, in fact, run off into some nearby bushes. Saydee just kept barking away, convinced that if she could only get her nose far enough into that small hole, she'd reach the elusive squirrel.

"Silly dog," I said. "What you're looking for isn't there."

"Yes, it is," she replied. "I saw it go in here, and I'm determined to find it."

"But I saw your squirrel run into the bushes. If you want to find it, you're going to have to get your head out of the hole and move. If you keep digging away at that hole, pawing the ground, you'll never find what you seek."

"You're not making any sense," she said. "I saw it go down this hole. I can smell its scent!"

No matter what I said or did, I could not convince her that the squirrel she was after was not in the hole.

A week later, we were running down that same dirt road; and that same squirrel appeared in front of us. Again, Saydee chased that squirrel into its hole. Sure enough, as soon as Saydee reached the hole and stuck her nose into it, the squirrel went out the back exit and into the bushes.

"The squirrel isn't there," I said.

"Don't start that again!" she growled.

"Okay, fine. I'm just trying to help."

It's been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again while expecting different results. Saydee kept barking and pawing at that hole, expecting to find that squirrel, but she never did find it. I'm not sure what that says about her.

Then again, I kept talking to her, trying to convince her that what her eyes and her nose were telling her wasn't the whole story, expecting her to listen, but she never did. I'm not sure what that says about me.

Finally, I left her there, and took off running. It was almost two miles back to home. When she caught up to me, she didn't say anything, but the look on her face told me that somehow it was my fault that she didn't find that squirrel.

I thought about telling her that sometimes, when you can't find what you're looking for, you need to do something different, look someplace else. However, I figured that if she wouldn't listen before, she wouldn't listen now. So, instead, I just kept running, all the way home.

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