The Valley of the King
For thousands of years there has existed a place in the Egyptian desert with complex underground chambers, hidden stairways and secret doors. Many Pharaohs once lay in state in “The Valley of the Kings”.
In another desert, in another valley, another Pharaoh has an elaborate underground complex. The “Baby Anubis” sits in royal posture, ears erect like rotating antenna scanning the desert dark softly grumbling to the coyotes whose presence he is aware of, ready to descend to his subterranean quarters should they not take his warning seriously.
The Little Bear’s complex is elaborate and underground but also takes on the nature of a giant sky Habitrail . Like the Winchester Mystery house only death will halt its advance. Like the wonders of ancient Egypt it was constructed by a skilled craftsman in service to a living God.
When I entered into willing servitude to the King of the Desert lizards, my first concern was a dog door. With a Tipi roofed pit house this was conceptually challenging. I started a dig behind our home and from the first shovel full of clay, Mr. Huffle-Puff watched in silent fascination. As the pit deepened, he lay with his paws dangling down the shaft carefully supervising it’s progress. “This is for you”, I told him many times as he cocked his head to drink in my words.
At six feet the excavation became a tunnel toward the house. I broke through the cement plastered wall and lined the tunnel with large fired clay chimney flue tiles. The main shaft became a concrete box. Gentle steps rose out of it to the surface. It has an insulated lid so I can access carrion that mysteriously takes up residence. This main shaft has become a privacy chamber. Everyone should have their own private retreat. Sometimes your partner does something intolerable like sneeze or run water. Perhaps a quarrel breaks out about the lights staying on beyond bedtime and you just need to GO TO YOUR ROOM.
The 15 foot underground dog door completed, I turned to a new project. There was a roof by now. I had the water scarce need to collect all of my roof water for the garden. I installed a 1500 gallon tank behind the house and set about burying the base for insulation. Dirt here must be rocked. The first great deluge will otherwise melt it.
Friends donated a used “Dogloo” to me. It apparently was so blindingly white in the desert sun that they found it intolerable. I agreed with this analysis and buried it in the new rock and dirt pile rising around the water tank. I painted the inside black so it took on a cave like appearance. As the lizards took to the cool retreat so did “Mr. Funnypants”. Not the peaceful retreat I had envisioned, but apparently an approved addition.
A sluice was needed to carry the roof water to my new tank. I made it in two levels for water and for traffic. I added stairs to make the flat roof a sunset viewing deck and a darn good place for a Napoleon Complex dog to survey his domain. A dog height railing was added. The roof has a skylight and one can hear the pitter patter of little feet up there. One can see the silhouette of a head with perked ears cocking back and forth listening for the sounds Dad makes from below. I know my boy and what he likes.
Add in the plush cushions and baskets and litter of dog toys. Consider the inside “Thunder Box” for stormy days when a fathers love is not enough. I think I am in love.
I email a dog named Rosie from San Francisco. Don’t tell, her dad. He doesn’t know she goes online. She too has her own room and I hear it is quite deluxe. I haven’t had the heart to describe the brightly painted and gold leaf bas-relief in the Pharaoh’s lair.
Jealousy is such an ugly thing.