Pi – Marking His Territory
by Jim Riggs
Our neighbor, Jack Carlyle, built a new house on the south edge of Denison. Jack knew a lot of farmers and one year he invited me to go on a pheasant hunt. Actually, I think he wanted my purebred Labrador retriever, Pi, on his hunt, so he invited me. It was a sunny, shirtlsleeve Saturday in November when our group gathered in the front yard of his new house. I let Pi run around the yard.
Jack had rented a room to a young woman who worked at the local radio station which was just down the highway south of Denison. Four guys gathered their equipment, loading lunches, shells, and shotguns in Jack’s van. Pi was roaming Jack’s yard, harassing sparrows and starlings and marking his territory in the bushes. Jack’s roomer was sitting on the grass in the front yard, cleaning her hiking boots when Pi made her a part of his rounds. The big Lab walked up behind her. Sniffing her Pendleton wool shirt, he lifted his leg, and squirted a stream of yellow pee on her back. She didn’t know what hit her.
I did though. I saw it coming. I saw him lift his leg and my cry stuck in my throat.
“Pi! No!” My words escaped, a moment too late.
Yellow water dripped from the checkered red and black and green wool on the girl’s back.
I caught the dog. Whatever I did was too lame and too late. I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and said, “What is wrong with you, you stupid mongrel?”
Quickly, I tried to change the tone of my voice. “I am so sorry. I don’t know what got into that dog. I’m sure he didn’t realize you were a person sitting there.”
Apologizing did not help. She got up, took off her coat, shook it, and walked to the house in tears.
“Get it cleaned. I’ll pay for it,” I volunteered lamely.
I gave Jack ten dollars to give to her when she had calmed down.
I turned to my hunting partners. No one had dared to laugh before. Now after the assaulted woman had left, the humor of the situation took over. The guys broke into quiet laughter.
“Piss on it,” took on new meaning that autumn day.