Cabela the Mighty Hunter Is Still Queen of the Yard

Ziva, front, and Cabela, back, April 16, 2023. Ziva wants you to know she almost caught a squirrel once.

Cabela, my fourteen-and-a-half-year-old standard poodle, has been moving slowly over the past two days. But she has a good excuse. She treed a big raccoon on Friday evening. Then she stood under the tree and barked at it, warning it to stay put. She barked some more to alert my husband that a big raccoon was up the tree, but that he didn’t need to worry about it. She had it all under control.

My husband brought Cabela into the house, then he watched the raccoon through a window. When the raccoon finally decided to come down the tree, its descent took twenty minutes because it inched its way down while keeping an eye out for Cabela the Mighty Hunter.

After the raccoon skedaddled down the road, my husband took the dogs back outside. Cabela ran hot laps around the house, probably looking for the raccoon. It’s the hot laps that she’s paying for. She’s moving like an old athlete who needs an anti-inflammatory and a heating pad after a rowdy game of touch football.

“Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway.” That’s what my father would’ve said about Cabela’s escapade with the raccoon. It was one of my father’s favorite expressions. When someone asked him how old he was, he answered, “Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway.” If someone did something foolish (and that someone was often my father), he would repeat the mantra, “Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway.”

Years ago, Jelly Bean, the first dog my husband and I owned, spent a night on the lam. One of my nephews had let her outside, and I didn’t realize it until a couple of hours later. I drove all over the neighborhood, several different times, but I couldn’t find her. I was upset when I went to bed because she still hadn’t returned.

Around midnight the temperature dropped and heavy rain accompanied by thunder and lightning rumbled through the night. I kept dreaming that I heard Bean barking. I’d wake up and listen, then sad and disappointed, I’d go back to sleep. Finally, at four o’clock in the morning, I heard a loud bark outside, and I knew it wasn’t a dream. At the backdoor stood my soaking wet, black lab mutt with her tail between her legs. I dried her off and wrapped her in a blanket. We both went to sleep. The next day Jelly Bean was sick, so I took her to the vet.

During the exam, I told the vet about Bean’s night in the cold and rain. He asked to be reminded how old she was. “She’s ten,” I said. “Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway.” He laughed. This was a big deal because that vet barely smiled let alone laughed. Additionally, he didn’t like small talk, and he could be cantankerous. Most people didn’t like him, but he was a good vet. His demeanor hadn’t ever bothered me because he was just a milder version of my father. In the past when I had to take Bean to the vet, I gave the pertinent information and refrained from talking about the weather.

But after I made the quip about my old dog’s youthful folly, the vet and I had a different relationship. My father’s expression must have struck a chord with the vet because during future visits, he smiled and made small talk with me. Perhaps, his father had used the expression, or maybe he often felt that way about his own life.

My Cabela isn’t keen on small talk, and she still thinks she’s young enough to do whatever she wants. She and the cantankerous vet would’ve understood each other. And my father, who knew Cabela, would’ve been proud of her for treeing the raccoon and doing hot laps around the house, age be damned. I don’t think Cabela would like using a heating pad, but I gave her canine anti-inflammatory medicine last night and this morning.

I hope the raccoon is old enough to know better and stays away.

9 thoughts on “Cabela the Mighty Hunter Is Still Queen of the Yard

  1. A story of many chuckles! Your weaving of present and past is very smooth which gives your story depth and many ‘handles’ to relate to as a reader. Your kindness in speaking of your father, racoons, cranky vets and old dogs is great.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the way you present your father and the cantankerous vet as men with crusty personalities but people you obviously respect. Your love of your animals, even the raccoon is beautifully expressed through your story. It is a warm inviting space in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would like to think we all have a little bit of “old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway” in us 🤣. I bet the old vet was always friendly but just needed that phrase or someone to show him how to be 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

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