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Chapter 8: Developing a nose for nature

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This is this is the eighth in a series of literacy enhancement articles that will appear biweekly in The Sentinel-News.

I’d lost my breakfast over Red River Gorge, fallen off my horse in the Daniel Boone National Forest, and now I was 65 feet in the air with my nose stuck in a woodpecker hole.

Chloe was the first to notice. “Woody, look at this.” When I didn’t respond, Chloe looked at me.

“Are you OK, Woody?” Chloe asked.

Wag, wag.

“Are you stuck?”

Wag, wag.

“Should I get Mom and Dad?”

Wag, wag, wag.

“Wait here,” Chloe said, then giggled, realizing how silly her comment was. Within minutes, Mom, Dad, Chloe and our trainer, Rex, surrounded me.

“Can you move, son?” Dad asked.

Wag, wag.

“Are you hurt, baby?” Mom asked in her soothing voice.

Wag, wag.

“I’ll go get some equipment to get you out,” Rex said and began to descend.

“Woody, you know how Mom and Dad tell us when we’re in uncomfortable situations to think about pleasant things?” Chloe said. “Think about the adventures those brochures said were in Kentucky. Imagine looking down at the beautiful horse farms from a hot air balloon or a parachute.”

Wag, wag, wag, wag, wag!

“I would love to spend every weekend canoeing or kayaking,” Mom said. “We could go to Lake Barkley, Lake Cumberland, Nolin Lake, Dale Hollow or many other lakes.”

Wag, wag, wag, wag!

“Speaking of water, I’d love to go sailing at Cave Run or Kentucky Lake,” Chloe said. “Do you think we could sometime, Dad?”

“Absolutely,” Dad said, “and even though I’m still walking bow-legged, I’d love to go horseback riding again.”

Imagining us all walking bow-legged made me giggle. Everyone must have seen my body shaking because they giggled too. The tree started shaking. I hoped it wouldn’t fall down.

“Rex is climbing back up with some equipment,” Chloe said, cheering.

“Woody, stay real still and don’t move,” Rex instructed. I wagged my tail to let him know I understood. Then he spoke again. “I’m going to drill a larger hole. Don’t move until I tell you.”

The drill was loud, but so were woodpeckers. I thought the woodpecker was being disrespectful to the tree by drilling a hole, but then I realized the woodpecker was designed to drill a hole in the tree, and the tree was designed to handle a hole by the woodpecker. I was disrespectful to the tree by putting my nose in the hole, getting stuck and making Rex damage the tree. I needed to apologize to Rex, my family, the tree and the woodpecker. I’d messed up his hole.

The drill stopped, and everything got quiet.

“OK, pull that little snout of yours outta there,” Rex said. I gently moved my nose, and it came out without a hitch.

“Tha – than – thank – aaachool!”

Everyone laughed. “I meant to say ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry,’ but I sneezed instead. Thank you for getting me out of my mess, and I’m sorry for all the trouble I caused. I am sure I will have plenty of time to think about my mistake while I’m in the doghouse.”

Dad smiled. “I’m sure there will be a punishment for acting without thinking first, but I have a feeling you won’t be doing anything like that again.” I thanked Dad and told him again how sorry I was. He listened, winked at me and said, “Let’s make our descent, rest a while, eat some lunch and open the next card.”

I realized how much respect I had for the birds, owls, squirrels and even cats. Being in the tree was wonderful, but moving around on the ground was easier. We ate a sandwich of tomatoes, cucumbers and cheese with a side of celery and kiwi. I didn’t know if I was just famished or if I was getting used to our new eating habits, but it was delish. When we were finished, Chloe pulled out our next Rx card. She opened it, read it silently and cheered.

“What is it, sis?” I asked, curious about our next activity.

“It’s a riddle,” Chloe said before reading aloud.

“The moon is my father, the sea is my mother;

I have a million brothers, I die when I reach land.

“What am I?”

 

For more about the series including audio versions of each chapter, visit www.kypress.com.