Dog Packs

While driving late through the desert down wind-y mountain roads with hairpin turns and steep drop-offs, I decide to pull over for the night.

I climb into the backseat of the truck and spread out across the luxurious long flat backseat of the old International. There is plenty of room for just me. My dog, Oatmeal curls up in the passenger seat and off we go. I fall asleep so fast, I don’t remember trying. At one point, Oatmeal begins growling out the window. I tell her to shush. She keeps growling quietly but deep and resonant. I sit up and lock the doors, peer out the window but don’t see anything in the night shadows.

We are parked outside of a tiny grocery store in a blip somewhere in the mountains of Western New Mexico in the middle of the night. It could be anything out there. I peer out again. There is one light at the front of the store and it shows me nothing on three sides of my vehicle.

Oatmeal is fully barking and we are both in high alarm, there is nothing that I can see! I search the darkness with my eyes when the light from the shop catches a curly tail just out my window and blonde fur. There is a dog, and another that looks just like it. Three or four more follow, and they don’t stop. The dogs circle my car, sniffing at the doors, standing on hind legs to peek inside, peeing on my wheels. The don’t bark, or scratch at the door.

I count at least 12 but I think it’s more like 20. The dogs scrounge the entire dirt lot of the store and sniff at the entrance. In a moment, they vanish. Into the night roaming, a pack of wild dogs.

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