Sunday, March 21, 2010


(We never captured a shot of Abby being a 'horsey', so I have to settle for the next best thing which is a photo of the 'scene of the crime.' At the time Abby was going through this phase, the dining room above was carpeted and did not have the rug shown.)

“Horsey” was a description of something Abby occasionally did when she was a puppy, and it wasn’t a game or even considered playing. It was more of a catharsis for her. She would seemingly spontaneously run back and forth from the foyer, through the living room and into the dining room where she would go around the table, back to the living room and finally the foyer where she would do at least 4 or 5 more laps, all of this at full speed. We didn’t know exactly what triggered these events, or else we would have prodded her into doing it more often instead of having to wait for the moment to strike her to be a ‘horsey’. We thought it was funny when she did it and cute, too. We called it ‘horsey’ because she was running so fast that it was like she was galloping when she did this. The only sound she made during these events was a shrill whine because she was breathing so hard, but, she didn’t bark or growl.

We do know that she had to be excited to do this, but her being excited wasn’t enough to trigger one of these episodes. Houseguests always excited Abby. The most notable ‘horsey’ incident happened while my brother from Atlanta was in town along with his friends while they were over one weekend when they were going to go to a Carolina football game. (Carolina was good that year and ended up with an 11-1 record.) Our house is a around a 45 minute drive to Chapel Hill, so the place was close enough and convenient for them to stay and big enough to accommodate all the guests.

What made the incident so memorable was the torment and embarrassment it caused my brother, who is very self-conscious and embarrasses easily. A trip home for him with any guests can be a minefield for him with a family as eccentric as ours. On that weekend, Abby did not let us down. The last thing my brother wanted was a crazy dog running around the house, but that is just what he got.

On Saturday morning about an hour after the guys had woke up, Abby took off in the living room and started running like a bat out of hell. Just seeing my brother embarrassed was worth it alone. He turns a little red, and the vein in his forehead pops out a little, too, but he did not vocalize his discomfort. His friends handled it politely, though I’m sure they were confused at Abby’s erratic behavior. Some of them laughed, while one guy, Rob, kept turning his head back and forth as he watched the whole scene play out. He looked like someone watching a tennis match the way he kept moving his head from left to right and back again. Abby had an especially lengthy session of ‘horsey’ that day. She put on quite a show. Meanwhile, Father had already absconded from the scene because one of the guests had an especially deep voice which must have scared the shit out of Father when that guy greeted Father, so Father was either hiding in the woods nearby or hiding in my mom’s closet.

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