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Fido Notices the First Chill of the Season

Hey hey hey hey! Hey!”

“Fido, what’s the haps? You are unusually excitable today.”

“I felt the season change! Goodbye to nasty old summer, is what I say. Bring on the snow and cool temperatures.”

“In case you haven’t noticed, Old Boy, it’s hotter than blazes out there this afternoon. It’s going to be a while before we get real winter.”

“But last night …”

“True enough, I did have to close the windows, I’ll give you that much. And I had to pull down the shades. And, yes, I noticed the pellet stove fired up about 5 o’clock this morning, but it wasn’t on for long.”

“There’s more than just that.”

“OK, Fido, an example or two would be nice.”

“The ground squirrels are working hard, and running fast. I hardly have enough time to yelp ‘Squirrel!’ before they’re underground, digging away and stashing pine nuts.”

“You are right, Mr. Beeg. I hadn’t noticed.”

“Humans don’t notice a lot.”

“Well, that’s not exactly true. Have you seen the streaks of yellow in the high country?”

“I’m a dog. I am one big nose, mostly. I don’t see that well and I really don’t see well at things that are far away.”

“It supports what you’re saying. High up in the Glass Mountains, the aspens are changing color and in the High Sierra valleys, in places where there’s water, the cottonwoods are beginning to go yellow.”

“When is it going to snow?”

“I don’t know, Fido. Nobody does, really. We could get a flurry or two any time now, but the snow won’t stick to the ground for a long time.”

“This last summer was really hot.”

“I suppose, but it wasn’t as hot up here as it was on the coast or in the deserts. It was OK, all in all. And we’ve had water this summer, in the creeks and lakes. Pretty nice, all in all.”

“Easy for you to say. You’re not wearing a double-coat of fur.”

“It’s better for you now, though, Fidey-o, since the days got shorter and the temperatures, at least overnight, have begun to drop again.”

“Have you seen the red-tails?”

“I guess I have, Fido, not that I’ve exactly studied them exactly.”

“They’re packing.”

“Do say.”

“All the red-tailed hawks up here are getting ready to leave to go back to Argentina. The pet cats around here are always happy to see that day coming, when they leave.”

“Oh, Fido, don’t buy into that hawk-and-cat-thing. It’s mostly a non-urban legend.”

“But remember when that hawk snatched a house kitten right off the deck across town? Then dropped it when it figured it wasn’t anything good to eat?”

“I remember, sure. It was the Great Catnapping Caper, but it doesn’t count for anything at this time of year. The Great Catnap happened in the spring, when the hawks were just coming into town and we got that May snowstorm that covered their habitat. It’s fall now.”

“That sure was a dumb hawk.”

“It happens. No single animal is alike. There are big ones and small ones, smart ones and not-so-smart ones. It’s the same with your dog pals around town. Bodie, for instance, isn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the pantry, you know.”

“That hawk was as dumb as a sack of hammers. It was so dumb that if you were underneath it if it flew over, your own IQ would stop 40 points. It was as dumb as anyone who ever sat on the Hound Council! That was a dumb hawk.”

“Well, if a hawk that dumb survived, it’s on its way back to Argentina soon. Cool adventure story, though.”

“Cool? Did you say ‘cool?’ Now we’re talking. Go, aspens, go! C’mon, cottonwoods! I just felt the first chill of winter. I’m ready for some snow!”

Fido is a red, 70-pound chow-retriever mix. He and his human pal, George Shirk, live in Mammoth Lakes at 8,000 feet. Fido is nine years old. In dog years, that makes him the same age as his human.