Across a lake almost covered by a floating island of white, a young beaver slaps open water with its tail. Aki breaks from my feet to dash across ice too soft to support any effort of mine at rescue, seduced to disobedience by the percussive rodent. I call repeatedly for her return, knowing the ice or beaver could end her life.
The ice takes the first shot—giving way to drop the little poodle mix into a cocktail of ice and water. She dog paddles toward my voice and pulls herself out of the water at ice edge. Now she looks back to the beaver or is it the shore, both much nearer to her than I. Should I keep silent and hope she swims to safety on the far shore or keep calling, trusting that the ice is firm enough between she and I to offer the better path? I call out for her to return, knowing the beaver is nearer to Aki than I. She seems to weigh her choices, turning her head to me and then back to the opposite shore and falls into the water again.
I call encouragement and then, “come back here you stupid little dog.” “Are those last words she will hear?” No. Aki again pulls herself onto firm ice and then sprints back to the moss at my feet.
The little dog immediate begins exploring the Troll Woods trail for interesting smells—the near death experience forgotten. I chew on it for a long time, wondering at the resilience of poodles.