We’ll call it a learning experience.
But I don’t want to keep you “in suspenders,” as my brothers and I used to say. Here’s a spoiler. Bugs back at Base Camp, after the learning experience.
“Let’s not do it that way any more, OK ma?”
And now, the experience. No pictures, because I was trying to concentrate. You can see how well that worked!
Recall Bugs’s perceived friskiness on the leash. Next time, Teresa suggested, I should sit down instead of trying the “walking on a leash” theory. That would establish Camp One. Then Bugs could salamander out in forays, but there’d be an outer containment boundary.
That strategy went off without a hitch. The next morning I carried him outside in his jacket, sat down, and put him in my lap. He got tired of that fast (typical response to the Dreaded Lap) and, despite being boneless, still managed to pour himself off Dreaded Lap and onto ground. Thereafter, the Camp One thinking proceeded as planned and the enterprise was a complete success.
So successful, in fact, that in the evening I thought I’d try it again.
“In the evening,” right? The first sign that if things did go south, we’d run out of daylight fast.
But I was preoccupied, not paying enough attention.
So the evening expedition started out fine, as in the morning. Until a friendly male neighbor decided to drop by.
Bugs flipped. I do mean flipped, literally. You’ve seen cats do this? Jump straight up, three feet or so into the air.
So our nice neighbor backed away and went along about his business.
Five minutes later, though, he walked by again.
This, too, could have been OK. But as I said, I was distracted. There were several reasons for that, the most salient one being that, as part of the endless construction-project going on next door, this nice neighbor had cut off the water. With a sinkful of dirty dishes and me needing a shower on a hot day, I wanted to know, with a fair degree of urgent asperity, when the water would be back on.
Understandably, empathetically speaking – but extremely regrettably, I transferred my attention to the neighbor –
– and Bugs saw his moment and bolted. It happened so fast that the leash came right out of my hand.
I was after him the next nanosecond, so fast I actually managed to grab ahold of the leash. Heaven only knows how. Like mamas lifting up cars to free their trapped children, I suppose.
But it was not enough.
Here’s the replay, as best I can reconstruct it.
Bugs is terrified of the nice male neighbor. Perhaps he looked like a lion or a hippo or something. Would Bugs fight? Even despite 400 pounds of bravado, when he’s in the safety of Base Camp territory? Not hardly. He’d turn and run, hide, climb a tree.
So that’s what he tried to do. But: I grabbed the leash. Screeeeech.
OKaaay then. Further forward motion halted. So the awful lion must be faced – with tooth and claw if need be.
When Bugs did that turn-about, my hand on the leash instantly transformed from being a stopper to an assist, to help Bugs get free. As long as he was moving forward, the pressure of the strap against his chest would keep the jacket on. With the leash pulling over his head, though – thrash out to freedom.
I wish I had on tape just how he did that. It happened so fast, plus with the stress of the whole thing, my brain couldn’t really track what he did. But it looked like he sprouted wings, did a back-flip in mid-air, jet-propelled himself out of the jacket, and lifted off into the stratosphere. A greased-lighting gray-and-white streak into the wild blue yonder.
And there I was, holding a leash and a snazzy little leopard-print cat-shaped – empty – jacket.
Not to worry. More in the next installment. Til then, here’s another shot of Bugs safely back in Base Camp.
“I can look at flying feathered objects from in here just fine.”