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Juno’s Genius

A seven-year-old dog of no obvious breed, Juno is medium-sized and slender with short brown fur and pointy ears. Her primary human is Cecilia who recently found a mate named Sunny, a male human Juno likes very much, though not as much as she likes Cecilia.

*

The day promising to be quite warm, Juno is sitting on the deck of Cecilia’s house overlooking a meadow that stretches to the dark forest where Juno never ventures alone because she knows the forest is the domain of pumas and coyotes, pumas having killed her brother, coyotes having killed two of Cecilia’s cats.

Recalling Cecilia and Sunny saying the word beach several times during their breakfast, Juno noses open the kitchen door and trots into the house to see if the humans are preparing to go to Juno’s favorite place in the whole world.

She finds Sunny at the kitchen table wearing his glasses and scratching on paper with a pencil. He looks up from his scratching, takes off his glasses, and says something friendly to Juno, so she goes to him, tail wagging, and he caresses her and says more words redolent with love.

Now Juno hears Cecilia coming down the hallway from the room where people come and take off their shoes and lie on a high narrow bed, and Cecilia touches them and talks to them and they talk to her, and then they get up from the bed, put on their shoes, and go away.

Cecilia gives Sunny a kiss and fills a kettle with water. Now she sets the kettle on the stove and turns a dial that makes a clicking sound Juno knows will cause the kettle to growl and eventually whistle.

Cecilia and Sunny talk to each other, and Juno hears them say beach and low tide, words that cause her to spin around twice and give Cecilia a wide-eyed look of love.

“In a little while,” says Cecilia, scratching Juno’s head. “After we have our tea.”

Juno subsides. She knows that in a little while and after we have our tea mean a beach expedition is not imminent, so there’s no point in maintaining a state of expectant exuberance if they aren’t going to go for a long time.

*

Walking on the beach in the early afternoon, Cecilia and Sunny and Juno encounter a man walking in the opposite direction, a man Juno recognizes as Derek, Cecilia’s mate before she found Sunny.

Derek embraces Cecilia, though Juno can see Cecilia doesn’t like Derek touching her. When Derek releases Cecilia, she introduces him to Sunny. Derek and Sunny shake hands, more words are spoken, and finally Derek continues on his way.

*

When they reach the halfway point of their beach walk, Cecilia sits on a driftwood log and watches Sunny and Juno play ball.

Juno loves playing ball with Sunny because he makes the game so exciting. Sometimes he flings the ball into the water so Juno has to go swimming, sometimes he flings the ball so it rolls and bounces on the sand, and sometimes he flings the ball so high in the air Juno loses sight of it, and then the ball comes down somewhere wholly unexpected. What a thrill!

*

Driving home from the beach, Juno knows Cecilia is upset about meeting Derek on the beach – Derek who doesn’t like dogs.

Juno knew Derek didn’t like dogs the moment Cecilia brought him home. Even so, Cecilia let him live with them through several seasons, and Cecilia was sad most of the time, and they rarely went to the beach, and Juno didn’t understand why.

Then one rainy morning Derek made a big show of petting Juno and telling her what a good dog she was. This made Juno sick, and she vomited her breakfast.

The next day, Derek made another big show of petting and praising her, and Juno vomited again.

A few days later, Juno saw Derek coming toward her to make another big show of petting her, so she ran out the door and down the road to where her pal Molly lives with her people Bill and Sally.

When Cecilia and Derek came to get Juno, she wouldn’t go with them until Cecilia leashed her and dragged her to the car.

Juno waited a day and then ran away again. This time she ran three miles into town to be with her friends Pushkin and Natasha who live with their people Helen and Justin.

Helen called Cecilia on the phone. Juno could hear Cecilia’s voice coming out of the phone, and she thought Cecilia and Derek would come get her again, but they didn’t, so she lived with Pushkin and Natasha for many days and thought she would live with them forever.

Then one sunny morning, Cecilia came to visit; and when Juno saw how happy Cecilia was, she knew Derek was gone.

*

When Cecilia and Juno and Sunny get home from the beach, they stand on the deck together and Cecilia hoses their legs and feet to wash away the sand.

Now Cecilia kneels beside Juno and embraces her and whispers loving words to her, and Juno knows Cecilia is thanking her for running away so Cecilia would get rid of Derek and find Sunny, who really likes dogs.

fin

Speaking of dogs and people who like them, my new book Pooches and Kiddies: the further adventures of Healing Weintraub is now available as an actual book, with e-book editions and the audio edition coming soon. Pooches and Kiddies is both the sequel to Good With Dogs and Cats: the adventures of Healing Weintraub and a stand-alone novel chronicling a momentous year in the life of Healing Weintraub and his colorful family and friends: human, canine, and feline. Both books can be ordered from your favorite actual bookstores and purchased online from myriad booksellers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, and Alibris.