“Where are we going?” Hamish the Corgi asked as he watched me dig the hiking pack out of the coat closet. It wasn’t easy. Five months of hats, scarves, gloves, reusable bags, dog towels, and YakTrax had crammed themselves on top of it.
I looked over my shoulder and up the steps to look at Hamish. He stood in the hall, big ears perked wide and high. He was smiling. “Tifft Nature Preserve over by the lakeshore,” I told him. “Awesome,” he said, “that’s not mine yet.” He disappeared into the kitchen and I heard rummaging in the dog cupboard.
I yanked the day pack strap and slammed the closet door before all the other stuff escaped. I went up to the kitchen to fill my water bladder. Hamish was waiting by the sink with the dog hiking water bowl and dog water bottle. He looked from me to the treat bin on the counter, me to treat bin, me to treat bin. “Don’t forget to pack the go-go crunchies,” he reminded me, nudging my ankle with his nose.
“Oh no Hamish,” I looked down at him, “Tifft doesn’t allow dogs.”
“What?” he was outraged. “No dogs?” he couldn’t believe it.
“Nope. Sorry Little Man,” I screwed the lid on my water bladder and eased it into my pack. Hamish stared at me for a while longer, tilting his head left and right. His ears shot straight up and he trotted out of the room on his stubby Corgi legs. Clearly he had an Idea.
I was in the dining room fussing with the camera when Hamish bustled back 10 minutes later. He was carrying something Very Carefully in his mouth. He set it down next to my foot. “Whatcha got there Hamish?” I asked him absently, there was a smear on the lens that just wouldn’t give up.
“Will you please take this with you and squeeze out a few drops every couple of feet?” He asked. “Trees are best, but a good clump of grass is ok too.”
“What?” I peered down at the vessel bumping my foot. It was a translucent squeezey ketchup bottle, the kind you see in diners, and it was half full of a pale yellow fluid. I blinked at it. I wrinkled my brow. “Hamish, is that? Wait, what it that?” I asked as I leaned down to feel the temperature, yep, warm.
Hamish gave me his soft warm Corgi look. “Tifft can still be mine, even if I can’t go,” he explained. I shook my head. “Ok,” I said, sort of doubtful. “But I don’t know if it’ll work.” Hamish bounced out of the room to tell Miss Tibbit the Useless Little Black Dog.
It wasn’t until a few hours later that I wondered, as I dutifully dribbled the base of a nice big tree, how did Hamish with his stubby little legs fill that tall bottle? I shrugged to myself. Better to not think about it.