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The first morning of the year may have started off colorless and boring, but little did we know what the afternoon had in store for us. Chintoo‘s cousin decided to pay us a visit.

Post lunch, Luci and I strolled out for our customary walk around the house. Instead of taking the usual route to the left, Luci wandered off to the right, her nose close to the ground, making loud sniffing noises. ‘What has got into her? Why is she going the other way?‘ I wondered. Dogs love routine and this was a break from hers.

This way, please!‘ I called out to Luci. She was having none of it. Hot on the trail of something, she paid no attention to me. A cat or rat, I decided, had passed that way. She sniffed her way all the way to the back of the house, peed beneath the bush with lavender blooms, and sniffed all the way back to the front, continuing towards the gate.

At this rate you are going to have no nose left!!‘ I joked. The words were hardly out of my mouth when I realized it was no joking matter. From behind the pots where Luci was poking her nose, out slithered a rat snake, moving towards where the L&M was standing looking the other way.

Come here! Come here!‘ I shrieked while simultaneously fleeing to a safe distance. For once the L&M listened first and asked questions later.

The snake which had detected the movement of the L&M’s feet, doubled back on itself. Meanwhile Luci, who has special antennae to pick up mom’s distress signals, locked on to where my eyes were fixed and saw for herself what the thing she had been looking for, rather sniffing for, all this while.

What happened next: Dog chases snake. Dog almost catches snake. Visions of dog being bit by snake (or crushed) fill my mind. Horrified, I yell, ‘No Luci, Nooooo! NOOOO!’. Wily snake again doubles upon itself and merrily slithers away while the dog is left sniffing and searching in the same spot over and over again.

It took Luci at least a whole minute to realize what had just happened and also to figure out why mom and dad were pointing and looking elsewhere. But she stuck to protocol and insisted on sniffing her way to the spot where the snake had long since disappeared, over the wall, into the compound next-door. At the end of it all, the score might look Wily Rat Snake: 1, Big Blundering Labrador: 0. But Luci is still the best. 😉

© Shail Mohan 2020