“Hey where did everybody go?” Fido wanted to know. “One minute this place is hoppin’ crazy wild, and the next, nothing. No new dogs to play with. No new sounds. What happened to the hiss of mountain bike tires on the road? And the squealing kids in the pool?”
“Take it easy, Fido,” I said. “It’s that time of the year. A lot of the visitors have gone home. They’re going back to school. They’re going back to work. We’ll see them again next summer, I promise.”
“But, but, but …”
Fido stretched out on the deck, with his snout on top of his paws. He considered our empty street from his perch. He appeared to be mournful in that hangdog kind of way.
“What’s the matter, Big Boy?” I said. “This is really a nice spot, and honestly, it’s the best time of the year. I know there aren’t any new dogs, but your oldest and best pals are still here. Listen: you can hear one now.”
Fido and I live near the crest of a hill, overlooking—and overhearing—Old Mammoth. He calls it “Whoville.” Lots of dogs live in Whoville with their human Whos, and we hear them when it’s oh-so-quiet.
“Is it my imagination,” Fido said, “or does sound carry better when everyone is gone?”
“Fido, not everyone is gone. You’re exaggerating again.”
“But there aren’t any lines! Where did all the RVs go with their backup beepers?”
”They’ll be back when it snows,” I said. “Except then it will be big buses and not RVs. We won’t hear them so much because that’s when we’ll have the windows closed against the wind.”
“Autumn is coming on fast, Fido. But it’s a good thing.”
“But, but, but …”
“You know that old saw about how dogs come up here for the winter, then stay for the summer?”
“I’ve heard that.”
“Well, you big red lug, they’re not really telling the truth of it. They come up here for the winter, then endure summer, waiting for the fall. It’s the loveliest time of the year. It has warm days and cool nights—great sleeping weather for hounds like you. There aren’t very many bugs in the backcountry. The stars come out early, there are baseball playoffs on the radio, and football on TV.”
“And I stop shedding!” he said.
“Atta boy. Now you’re getting it.”
“I liked having the visitors here, though,” Fido said. “When some of the dogs find out I am here all the time, they say I sure am a lucky dog.”
“You are, but they’re lucky, too. When you’re a dog, you’re lucky all the time, each and every day, no matter where you are.”
”But here is better than there,” Fido said, “and now until it snows, we have it all to ourselves.”
“Fido, my good man, you are quick on the draw. How would you like to have a biscuit?”