Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meet Hercules

Meet our new little neighbor, "Hercules" (pronounced Her-KIUAL, not HER-kyu-leeze). He is 6 weeks or so old and just learning to navigate the porch steps and back yard. He hasn't yet figured out how to climb the steps, though. His owner ties him outside and lets him play on the walkway near the woods. His leash keeps getting tangled in the bushes.

The cats are curious, but not as curious as Hercules. Whos IS this fearless little creature, they seem to be wondering, who'll go running up to a dog four times his size, plant himself smack down in front of it, and start to bark. You impertinent little pipsqueak, the dog's look says. Why, I could smash you to a pulp with one pat of my paw. But he won't, of course. Animals instinctively know what's a full-grown something and what's a baby something. Baby somethings, you leave alone.

Meanwhile one of the cats approaches steathfully, hiding behind some branches. Hercules spots her and dashes out, full speed ahead galloping toward her, his little tongue hanging out, his tail wagging. You never saw a cat run so fast in all your life, ha ha. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen. I was watching from the window and about cracked up laughing.

And just when we're getting used to the pup's friendly visits and adorable little face, the neighbor tells us he's going to be moving come July. He has three part-time jobs and wants to move closer to his work, which is some distance away. The sun just went down in my soul, or so it seemed standing out there in the back yard later, when he told us this news. I was getting so fond of the Little Pip.

I asked the neighbor, when he first introduced us to Hercules, how come you named him Hercules? Such a tiny little dog ... the name didn't seem to fit. "It was the first name that came to mind when I saw him," he said.

Agatha Christie invented a character by the name of Poirot, a quirky detective who appears in several of her mystery novels. He was a Hercules also, known for his abundance of "the gray matter". I think Hercules the dog will make up in intelligence for what he lacks in size. I can't think of him now going by any other name.

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