The following conversation took place earlier this evening, as Ryder laid on her upstairs bed, next to my computer.
Ryder: How come you tell people that you think that I’m part Australian Shepherd?
Alys: Because your nose is short, like an Aussie’s. And you are not obsessive about chasing balls and sticks, or catching frisbees the way some border collies are.
R: Well, I’ll have you know that both my parents were border collies from good stock.
A: And your grandparents?
R: The same.
A: So I take it that misidentification bothers you.
R: Yes, it does. You’re mostly Irish, right?
Ryder talks to squirrel through the window
How would you like it if I went around telling everyone that you’re Italian?
A: I most likely would not be bothered.
R: You say that now, but if you were misidentified more than once, and I was the one who did it, you would most certainly be annoyed.
A: Okay. I get what you are saying. I will be more careful, and in the future, I’ll make sure I tell people that you are a border collie and your parents were from good stock.
R: And also tell them that as a border collie, I’m very intelligent.
R: And also tell them that as a border collie, I’m quick to notice things, both inside and outside.
A: Yes, I will do this.
R: What are you doing now?
A: I’m writing what we just talked about into the computer.
R: Why are you doing this?
A: Because I want my readers to know how you feel about being misidentified.
R: What readers?
A: The two or three people who regularly check out what I’ve written.
R: Your sister, she’s one of these readers, right?
A: On occasion.
R: And your friend Fran in Fairbanks.
R: And your friend Pam who lives in Washington State.
A: Again, on occasion.
R: Why would any of them care as to how I’d feel about being misidentified.
A: I’m not sure that they do. But in particular, Eleanor and Fran are your biggest fans. Eleanor is always saying “I love that dog!”
R: Why don’t you send me to live with her.
A: What? You don’t think Pete and I love you?
R: Yes, lately I’ve been having my doubts.
A: Why is this?
R: You have not been spending as much time with me as you have in the recent past.
A: That’s true. There are two reasons for this. The first is that it’s been really cold out. And the second is that we’ve both been busy doing other things.
R: You need to ask me first if I think it’s too cold to go for a long walk.
A: Your ability to endure is not the issue. The issue is our ability to endure. The cold, it gets down into our bones. And I can’t wear my Refrigerator suit out on the trail because it’s so bulky.
R: Excuses, excuses.
A: This is not an excuse. It’s a part of the reality that comes in living in such a cold place.
R: I think I would like to live with your sister Eleanor, in Portland.
A: Can’t do this.
R: Why not?
A: She has a very mean cat.
R: I’ll take care of the cat.
A: But the cat is much loved.
R: It’s obviously taking advantage of your sister.
A: This is what cats do.
R: So when will spring be here?
A: Soon, soon.
R: And you will then take me for longer walks?
A: Yes. A promise is a promise kept.
R: We’ll see.
Next: 42. 2/11/20: Growing Pains