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‘Homeland’ security division on high alert

Short, sweet, and to the point.

That’s my goal as I write this at 4:30 a.m. on a Tuesday—paddling madly against the tide in the procrastination bay of time frames for my column.

I’m not sure where the last week went. I lost track of it at “Hello” and then was whisked away by the infinite chores in my neck of the woods.

I often think that even 24 hours of sunshine wouldn’t be enough time for me to get done all the things on my list.

However, there’s one “to do” I don’t have to worry about around here and that’s “homeland” security. I have my own four-legged officers and they run a very tight border operation.

Who needs a high-tech system installed when there’s two skunk-bomb sniffing, wild animal chasing, squirrel and chipmunk patrol canine units whose only fee is a daily dish of dry Kibble and the occasional scratch behind the ear.

I am one lucky lady. My world is protected by the dog equivalent of the Paladins of Charlemagne’s court in ancient Rome.

Even at 2:30 a.m., in otherwise quiet times in the country, I can be raised from the dead of sleep by the warrior dog whose sniffer works overtime under the open kitchen window where he lays on his blanket in the house.

Whatever it is outside that walks in noiseless wild animal shoes, triggering “Cash” to jump out of his dream world and into a barking frenzy, must be scared to death.

Heaven knows the ceiling in my bedroom has more than one set of fingernail marks where I’ve clung like a petrified “Sylvester the cat” in a Bugs Bunny cartoon when my homeland security system went off while I was asleep.

Every once in a while, I think I would like to own chickens and let them “free range” the farmyard—until I see what happens when a pigeon makes one wrong move by landing on the ground here.

My chickens would never have a moment’s peace with “Dot” on shift.

Even a snake’s skin shed by its owner has no chance of deteriorating in the summer sun as nature had intended. If Dot sniffs one out, she snaps it up and whips it around in her jaws until it’s in tatters and poses no threat to the safety of international peace.

“Mr. Groundhog” didn’t know what hit him the other day, either, when Dot spotted him sitting on the woodpile cleaning his buckteeth.

I happened on the scene while walking to the barn on a mission and caught a glimpse of the little rodent’s wide-eyed surprise as Dot—in her best Usain Bolt impression—sprinted across the farm yard in world record time and, in a flying leap, cleared the woodpile and disappeared behind it taking the groundhog with her.

Within seconds, she bolted back over the woodpile with the mortified groundhog in her fangs. I expect it was experiencing what it felt like for me at the Emo Fair one year when I was thrown about on the “Tilt-a-Whirl” ride.

The only difference is that I survived the ordeal.

In a scene from the movie “The Quick and the Dead,” suddenly I had a groundhog carcass to dispose of.

If Dot had had her way, she would have guarded her rodent prize until she was old and grey, and there wasn’t much I could do to distract her from standing over victory other than lock her in the house while I disposed of the critter.

However, as I soon found out, chucking the woodchuck into the bountiful grassland marsh that layers my property here certainly was not the answer.

Two days later, while hoeing the garden, I looked up to see Dot hovering over the puffy groundhog cadaver in the middle of the yard after she had been on a search-and-retrieve mission.

Burying it in the field with a shovel six feet, under wearing a “hazmat” suit, was my only recourse to preserve the standards of homeland security set by the canine soldier that Dot is.

Often while on a scouting operation to the edges of the farm border, Dot will return black as night with dirt and I know some encroaching, gnawing mammal has likely met its maker before it had a chance to set up camp.

Short, sweet, and to the point.