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Maxine & Sierra, night & day

Maxine is back, and she brought a friend! To keep the world from getting all wobbly and unbalanced, they meet in the middle, the line where night and day meet. Here are some of the highlights from our latest adventures:

Every hero needs a sidekick, even former gods living on Earth. Sierra came in handy right away as we passed a gang of street toughs, preying on the pre-church crowd – one look from her and they steered clear, whereas Maxine alone might have invited thoughts of an easy mark (much to their unfortunate demise). Plus, she made a fine windbreak for diminutive Maxine, shielding her from this winter chill, and setting an easy pace in shafts of sunlight. Sierra and Max make a great team like winter and summer, the sun and the moon

In the small town of Lexington, there are no mountains and only a few hills, but on the tallest one sits a tiny shadow, eyes surveying her domain, ready to howl out as an audible lighthouse to warn travelers or just to chide anyone with an annoying face. Seated at the foot of the hill is a fluffy counselor, ready to soothe wounded feelings or ankles with a hug or lick to the face. Two sides of the same coin, Maxine and Sierra are the Guardians, ready to mete out justice or relief, whatever their charges need in the moment

Maxine certainly stands out in the snow, no need for camouflage, she tells me. No, she wants any miscreants or malcontents to come at her head on so she can get on with her day. Sierra was a little sad when she was overlooked in a snow drift, giving a woof! to say, Cuddly gal here, ready for pets!

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Sierra is our anchor, setting the pace and keeping Maxine grounded while she takes point, scouting the best smells and keeping watch. Without her, Maxing slingshots out into the cold, black flames crackling in the melting footprints she leaves in the sidewalk!

Rainy days seem to divide opinion into two camps: gleeful puddle jumpers and those that run from cover to cover, grumbling all the way. You can probably guess where Sierra and Maxine fall.
Sierra trotted outside, smile undaunted, breathing in deeply, and sighing contentedly, warm under her natural coat, appreciating the rain for the flowers and the grass and the rivers and creeks.
Overwhelmed by the indignity of pottying outside, in the rain, in the cold, Maxine growled the whole way, but I could tell she began to appreciate the added oomph the moisture gave to the smells, lingering longer and longer to savor them, the rain fading from focus.
Sierra set a sedate pace with Maxine zipping back and forth, our dark star in orbit. Exasperated, Maxine cried, Let’s gooooo! But Sierra just smiled, saying the only thing needs chasing is squirrels. Let the smells come to you.

Sierra caught sight of a squirrel, and her eyes narrowed, expression darkening – beyond the varmint, her and Maxine’s eyes locked. Squirrels are the worst, on that they could agree! With that, the whole tone of the day changed: two enforcers, sweeping the neighborhood for an infestation, rooting out vermin, high-fiving over a pile of corpses, the tails of their squirrel-skin caps bobbing as they ambled on home

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I came bearing an offering for Maxine, hoping to curry favor: a slain squirrel that took most of the morning to catch. Dropping it at her feet, she looked down on me, and my fate hung in the balance: if she approved, I could affix her regalia in safety; disapproval would mean adding my hide to her breakfast… the moment stretched and I started to sweat. Maxine bared her front teeth, and I prepared for the worst! Then Sierra came bounding from the kitchen, snapped up the offering in one bite, leaped into her harness, and swept Maxine and me out the door! We skipped, if you can believe it, paw in hand in paw down to the park, keeping an eye out for more squirrels or soundly sleeping hobos – easy prey to replace Maxine’s tribute – but settled for treats in the kitchen back home. Throat intact, I bid my ladies Adieu!

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The Sunday church bells were ringing, barely heard over Maxine and Sierra’s proclamations that they were starting their walk. But they got Maxine thinking all nostalgic. I could see it in her eyes, of what Sundays used to mean, high up in the mountains where her temple lay – pilgrims would start before sunup, laden with baskets of fruits and vegetables from their fields, rare spices and perfumes from far off lands, heck even a first-born or two on the high holidays, all tribute to their deity in supplication for a mild winter or bountiful harvest or just not to be smited. Those were the days, she sighed. Just then, Sierra poked her head over my shoulder, I got a cake for my birthday once. It was pretty great! 

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Maxine gave me that sparkling goddess smile this morning, bits of Santa still in her teeth – Unashamed, she used it as a mirror for the sunrise, showing off her grin like a trophy. Sierra still had glitter and sparkling tinsel in her fur, My stars, she said, how embarrassing, and had me help me brush it out! Two approaches to their Christmas hangovers, there was no sign of winter this morning, but there were bits of elf in Maxine’s stool.