"You are on my property," I snarl. The deep, rich sound of my voice impresses me, and I wonder if anyone is listening.
"It was my property before it was yours," she replies haughtily with a toss of her head.
"That was some time ago. Things change."
She does not reply; just stands her ground. I wait.
Finally, she turns and walks away. Her parting remark cuts back on the breeze. "I'm going to find my breakfast. I have to work for my keep, unlike you."
I watch her disappear over the ridge. Satisfied that I have done my job for this time, I walk back to the house for a long, satisfying drink of water. I smile at how well that encounter went. I saunter to my vantage place on the top of the knoll overlooking the ravine, curl up, and close my eyes.
I'm in the middle of one of those significant dreams, playing with my buddies and feasting on the meat left clinging to a T-bone steak when I sense her presence again. Somewhat befuddled by sleep, I turn my head to catch her perfume, just to confirm. She is back again all right, down by the gate. I stretch quickly and trot down for round two.
"You're back," I state.
"You were snoozing," she sneers. "It must be nice to live a life of leisure with all your needs met."
"What exactly is it that you want?" I think that perhaps we can negotiate or make a deal so that I can get back to my dream and so she can go back to her new spring home in the ravine and to whatever it is that she does all day.
"I want you to tell Lorraine to leave me chicken--preferably breast meat--outside the back door on a tray, just like the neighbor used to do."
"Won't happen," I reply. "I don't even get chicken, just plain lamb and rice."
"Well then, I want that bone you were given this morning. Plus, I want first chance at the bone every day you get one."
"That request is definitely not acceptable," I reply.
There is an explosion of golden-red as she streaks by me. She is on a direct route to my bone, my knoll, my property.
I race after her. Faster and faster we run, dodging the spruce trees by the lane, veering around the west end of the cotoneaster hedge, the bleeding hearts at the corner of the house spurring me on.
I am alive, powerful, doing my job, protecting my property from interlopers. I narrow the gap between us, close enough that I am directing the chase now. I know exactly where I want this adventure to end.
As the sheep wire fence at the edge of my property comes close and closer, I stop abruptly. She continues to run, looking back for one instance to see where I am. That one moment of looking back is her downfall. She hits the sheep wire fence and bounces back so hard even I wince.
I watch as she picks herself up and deftly squeezes through an opening in the wire. She slowly circles around and disappears into the ravine, her head high.
I walk over to where she hit the fence and mark the edge of my property.