We have always considered our dog Bella to be one of the dopier creatures in our pet parade. A blue-eyed cattle-dog mix, Bella came from a rescue organization when she was about one-and-a-half. The only background story was that she had been bathed and then dumped soaking wet on someone’s porch.
When the shelter folks chose us to take her in, a process that felt like we were adopting a child, we were thrilled. Even after we discovered that she had what is referred to in veterinary terms as a happy-water problem. (Okay. That’s not true. That’s what we call it.) The problem occurs when someone comes in the front door and Bella gets so excited that she pees on their shoes in delight.
Like the cats clawing the furniture—as I’ve said before, you can either love your cats or your belongings, not both—we decided we could live with Bella’s predilection.
Lately, though, our old girl started having what’s referred to as OLDB: Old Lady Dog Bladder. (Again, this is our term, so don’t blame the vet.) We had her checked out and the doc said nothing was amiss. We were offered the chance to medicate her or try doggy diapers, but decided we’d rather work with Bella. So, we started treating her like a puppy. Paying attention to her more, praising her for telling us that she wanted to go outside, and giving her a cookie when she peed in the yard. “You are such a good girl!” we’d say. And she’d look up at us adoringly.
But then we noticed something odd. This dog—who we often joked at Christmastime should be gifted with a few more brain cells—started scamming us. She’d excitedly dance around as if she needed to go out. Then she’d pretend to pee and come running for a cookie.
Hummm? I didn’t know whether to be angry or sign her up for doggy MENSA. It made me wonder what else might be knocking around in her canine brain. Does she know more words than walk and cookie? Is she secretly plotting with the cats to take over the house? Or maybe she’s working undercover and the dopiness is all an act.
I do look at her a bit differently now. What’s really behind that big doggy smile?
I doubt we’ll ever know.
The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.
February 2, 2022
In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.
Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.
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