I gave Connor a marrow bone to chew on this evening. Lately, he has decided that he doesn't want to chew on them though, he'll just leave it lying there while he plays with something else. That doesn't mean that he isn't aware of it though or that he want's to let anyone else have it. Heaven forbid!
He likes to wait for just the right moment when he can steal the bone away and hide it, sometimes under my pillow. Since I am not terribly fond of finding icky bones under my pillow and since he was ignoring it and I don't have any more, I had intended to put it back in the freezer for anther time. Connor was sleeping on the couch (or so I thought) and I got distracted and didn't put it right away. I thought I had time.
The rotten little sneak-thief tiptoed up, made off with that bone, took it downstairs and out through the dog door without me ever noticing. I didn't notice right up until the moment that he reappeared next to me covered in filth and mud from having just dug a large hole somewhere in the manure pile to hide his treasure.
I started trying to clean him off, but quickly gave it up as a bad job and decided to just take him out for a walk in the tall, wet grass to get him clean again. I was annoyed at the mud on my just-cleaned floor and having to go out again at midnight after a long, hot, humid day. We'd just had a short, soft rain and I wasn't looking forward to getting my feet wet. I stepped outside and headed for the back pasture, still grumbling. After a short walk, I figured we'd done enough to get the muck off his feet and turned for home.
That is when the last of the clouds moved off and the still nearly full moon came out to turn the world into magic. I stood in a bank of heavy, ground-hugging fog with a clear, star filled sky blazing above. The moonlight shone down through the trees, illuminating the mist in a thousand moonlit rainbows and sparking silver off of every tiny water droplet.
I kept turning this way and that, expecting the unicorn to be standing in a pool of those moonlight rainbows. There just had to be one. Instead, I found my crazy puppy pressing a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee into the back of my leg.
We walked and played for an hour under the gauzy, shimmery light until the mist cleared and the brief, elusive magic dimmed. Finally, tired, content and mostly clean, we returned home.
This is what animals do for us. They pull us out of our selves and into worlds we'd never see without them. They take us into things we never expect and can't dream of. They show us beauty that we would otherwise miss. They break down our boundaries and our preconceptions and, in doing so, they share their own joy-in-life with us. They take us places we might never get to on our own. What's a few muddy paw-prints on a clean floor compared to that?