today, i was grooming dandy on the back deck, something we've done any number of times without incident. i did have the gate shut. wouldn't you know, the neighbour's miserable moggie jumped up on the woodpile and started caterwauling at dandy ... who promptly leapt the deck rail, landing some fifteen below on the grass (which is thoroughly wet and soggy thanks to the flood and several days of rain, thank goodness), streaked across the yard like black lightning, and was up on the woodpile before the cat even registered what was happening (which is the only reason i can think of for the rotten hairball to still actually be up there when dandy came up over the edge). they ran the length of the woodpile into the pine trees beyond, there was a clashing and snapping of branches, and that was the last i saw of him. i'm still standing there like a tool, brush held up and my mouth open ready to shout "oi! get back here!". so i went inside, got my shoes on, got the leash, told the family i'd be back in a bit. out front, i went to the pit bull's house but he wasn't there. i went to the english setter's house and he wasn't there, either. finally, i whistled and within about 30 seconds, i heard the sound of a tiny horse galloping down the road - he'd gone the other direction completely so he must've still been chasing the cat. i leashed him without incident and figured we're out anyway, might as well go for a walk. there's this one house up on newcastle that he goes *mental* over. when we pass, he plants his nose HARD on the ground and sniffs and licks and piddles and sniffs and licks and piddles. it's really annoying. i've always said "i don't CARE if angelina jolie lives here, let's GO!" today, La Jolie was out in the yard and i can see why he acts that way: she's a 30lb purebred border collie and i must say, he's got excellent taste in women. she's truly stunning, both in appearance and in personality - an exemplary example. they played together while i chatted with Nalah's mum and then i showed mum a few things (she's got a few minor issues with the dog). wouldn't you know it: i said "dandy, yumyum" - and he broke off playing with La Jolie and came to a perfect sit in front of me, eyes square on my face, ears pricked with interest. Nalah looked at him, saw me give him a treat, then came and sat, ever so prettily and daintily, next to dandy, imitating his alert posture. so of course i gave her a treat (with permission). i showed a couple of his tricks, then let them play again and when it was time to go, i said "dandy - let's go" and he immediately fell in beside me - no nonsense about resisting, no whining, nothing barring a long, lingering glance back at the little lady standing forlornly at the end of her driveway. next time, the REAL test: Holly, the sleek little golden retriever. if he breaks off play with her to some sit in front of me, i WILL be preening!