in which the author continues from Part 1 to report on recent events in the animal world that could have far-reaching implications
At the bottom of the street where I live is one of Toronto’s best dog parks. Lots of space, hills, lots of people, lots of dogs from all over the city. Getting to the park today was NOT a five-minute walk. There are 20 utility poles and Parker is fastidious about checking his pee-mail to weed out what’s important and what’s not.
When we reached the park’s entrance, I unhooked Parker’s leash. That’s the moment he starts to run around, find a stick and gallop like a goof ready to play fetch. Poodles are, after all, retrievers. I no longer throw anything like a girl, balls, toys, sticks, thanks to my dog.
“Parks, go find a stick!”
He stopped walking and shook his whole body, starting at his head and ending at his shaggy tail.
“No,” he said. “I’m going to go to the hill, the tree and talk with Blue.” He pronounced Blue like D-loo, and I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly so I asked him to spell it. Years ago we had come up with dd to represent the letter B, which Parker could not pronounce, along with some other letters that depend on lips for proper pronunciation.
“Okay. I’ll be there in a bit,” I said.
Parker lowered his head and bounded off along the chain link fence which was supposed to protect the public swimming pool from skateboarders and other creatures. It didn’t. I wondered how it is that standard poodles can bounce like big rabbits, gallop like Friesian horses and cuddle like teddy bears.
As I got around the corner of the fence, I could see the top of the hills, with the different groups of people and dogs, all shapes, sizes and colours and degrees of activity, from standing, chatting, sipping coffee to whipping frisbees and balls across the park.
Iris the greyhound rescue saw me and came loping over. We hit it off the first time we met. I let her lean against me so that I can massage her back end, or give her Reiki. In return, she tells me stories about her wacky owner or about her racing days. Humans have no idea how chatty their dogs are. We often gossip about Parker, who is a bit sweet on her. She lets him lick her ear, but she’s just not into poodles.
I wanted to ask her about what she knew of the uprising, of the plan that has apparently gone viral in all non-human animal, fish, amphibian, insect — possibly even microbial kingdoms. But I didn’t. Instead we chatted about the boy dogs for a while, then I patted her rump and headed off to say hi and snuffle up with some of the other dogs: Billy the girl, a big Newfoundland and lab mix; Bella the chocolate lab with the rotary tail; Angus, a fat terrier; Lola the mini merle dachshund; Doodle, another black poodle; Chili and Lucy, the Jack Russell terriers, Weaver the Havanese, Emma, a tiny Bichon Frisee to name a few. They crowded around and I ended up as always, on the ground, surrounded. I tell people it’s because I line my pockets with bacon. (I don’t). How can I tell anyone that I speak the language that animals in captivity use among themselves?
Noticeably absent from the group were Parker and Blue. I saw them sniffing around the big tree together. Blue lived two doors down from us. He’s a black, beautiful beast of a dog and a mutt; a mix of black lab, brown lab and some unknown long-legged breed that HAD to be a hound because of his accent and how he barked.
I was down on the ground a good while. While scratching Weaver’s ears, I felt a big, wet, cold nose on the back of by neck. It was Parker. I was tired and decided it was time to leave. We said goodbye to the dogs and their owners, which took about a half hour. When we were safely out of earshot, I bent down to scratch Parker’s ears and snuffle him a bit. I asked him if he had a good discussion with Blue.
“I think so,” he said.
“We’ll talk at home,” I said, giving his chin one more scratch and a big kiss on his forehead before standing up and slowly making my way home with my dog, lost in thought and feeling.
We weren’t inside the front door for two seconds before Tweety was all over Parker with questions. He paced along the length of his perch, to and fro.
“So? What did you find out? What did Blue say? What does he know? How bad is it?”
Parker sat down on his blanket and looked at me. “Can I have a cashew?” he asked.
“Sure. Tweets, want one?” I asked.
Tweety, now running back and forth on his perch, looked worried.
“Yes, but Parker, WHAT did you find out?”
Parker stood up on his blanket; circled counter-clockwise once, twice, then turned and went clockwise once and plopped down with a HUGE sigh. Tweety let out a shrill tweet.
“WHAT does THAT mean?!” he asked.
I did say he’s an alarmist, didn’t I?
I was at the small pantry cabinet getting three cashews.
“Tweets, for goodness sake, will you chill?” I said, my brows furrowed as I walked over and gave him a cashew. He took it gently from me with his claw, brought it up to his beak, hacked off a piece and started sawing on it. Cashew dust everywhere on the tray. I wondered if he ever got any down his gullet. Then I took a few steps and lowered myself to Parker’s blanket, and held a cashew to his nose. He very gently took it, flicked to his back teeth and crunched it. He really likes cashews. I thoughtfully chewed my own cashew as Parker started talking.
“Well,” he said, (which sounded like EL, because he can’t pronounce ‘W’ very well) “Blue said that the plan is that 12 round moons from now we will all come together in places where humans can see us, and we will say stop. We will say it in your language. We will use your words. All of us. Everywhere.”
Parker licked his front paws a moment then continued. “We will show you that if you do not stop, none of us will be opening eyes for much longer. He also said that there’s a lot to do so it can happen on time.”
I nodded. A worldwide event, involving diverse species, multiple environments. The logistics were staggering…from a human perspective. I started to laugh, imagining elephants using Powerpoint and statistics.
Parker tilted his head, looking at me quizzically.
“How is that Blue knows all this?” I asked, trying to look all serious.
“He is our Teller,” explained Parker. “He tells us what it is that we are to know, when we need to know. You know how he is always barking at times. He is Telling and others pass along what he tells. It is his work from the time he opened his eyes.”
I frowned again. “Parker, this is a bit much. An uprising? A Teller? Am I dreaming?”
“I don’t know what humans dream,” said Parker. “Why would you dream this?”
“Because I love Dr. Doolittle,” I said, smiling.
“Who?” asked Parker.
“Never mind. I need to have a nap and process all of this and find an answer. But when I wake up, tell me it’s all a dream.”
Parker sighed and put his chin on his forepaws. “Talk to Blue.”
I thought about that for a minute.
“Tomorrow, Parks. Tomorrow, for sure. Right now, I need a nap.”
Tweety had finished his cashew and flapped his wings, getting ready to come upstairs with me. I held out my hand and he stepped on; together we made our way upstairs. He was calmer now that he had some information. I could not say the same was true for me. I was not so calm. Was this true? It IS close to April Fool’s Day and Parker is a joker.
I would talk with Blue tomorrow. In the meantime I had to sleep. IF it’s true and the creature + critter + other kingdoms are organizing tell us to stop… well, my mind was racing as to the implications. And to the danger that the animals might be bringing on themselves.
I wondered if any other humans knew.
“Hey Parker?” I called out. “Why did you tell me? Am I the only human that knows this?”
Now animals cannot call out the same way humans do, at least not without alarming the neighbourhood. Parker got up and came upstairs.
Tweety jumped off my hand onto his cage and headed in to his back perch.
In the master bedroom are two beds; mine and his. Both are Tempurpedic. He stepped onto his bed, circling clockwise three times, and plopped himself down. I sat at the edge of mine.
“I was told to tell you,” he said as he started to curl his big self into a ball.
My heart stopped. “By whom?”
“You would call him my great-grandfather.” And with that Parker buried his long snout under is forepaws and fell asleep.
Tweety was making little contented noises in his sleep. Tomorrow I would talk with Blue. And I’d go to the zoo and talk with the elephants again.
My question still unanswered, I got under the covers to take refuge in a long nap. I dreamt of talking with Great Pink Sea Snail and the Giant Lunar Moth.
Part III next week.