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17  August 2003

It must be very frustrating when your chosen diety has this compulsion to check e-mail 'lebendy-seben times a day.

I'm not sure when Kimba decided that the two of us should be joined at the hip--or, more appropriately, ankle. We have a strange relationship, basically ignoring each other except for mealtimes, but in her later years, she has decided that she must be within a few inches of me at all times.

kimba1.JPG (31437 bytes)She's very happy when I'm settled somewhere doing something. If I'm sitting in a chair watching TV or reading, she lies a few feet away, her back to me, by the patio door. If I'm at my desk, she's lying approximately 12 inches from my chair. When I'm doing something active, it drives her nuts. She generally sits between the family room and the eating area, her head moving back and forth like she's watching a tennis match.

Where is she going to sit?

Which room am I going to be going to?

If I finally settle in the family room, she gives a happy sigh, takes up her position by the back door and goes back to sleep (like Marn's cats, she requires about 22-1/2 hours of sleep a day). Then I'll hear the "you have mail" sound coming from my computer and I'll get up. With a heavy sigh, Kimba gets up. She follows me into the office. I stand at the desk, she goes back to sleep at my feet.

kimba2.JPG (28562 bytes)I see that the incoming mail wants to extend my penis or enlarge my breasts or offer to make me wealthy beyond my wildest dreams. Without sitting down, I click "delete" and go back into the other room. Kimba gets up, follows me, and takes up her place by the back door again.

There are some who think that Kimba, this little chubby sausage on legs, needs more exercise. Near as I can figure, she must walk at least 10 miles a day, just going from the patio door to my office and back again.

When I leave the house, she stations herself on the bottom step and waits for me to return.

She's getting older now--about 14--and her hearing is going. It seems to be an intermittent thing, as she can obviously sometimes hear the car returning. But we did a test the other day. When her back was to me I asked her if she wanted dinner? In her earlier years, this would be enough to set her leaping into the air and launching into a quite good immitation of Snoopy's "Suppertime" dance. She'd run around in circles, whining and leaping up...."hurry up! hurry up! I'm about to waste away to nothing!" (despite the fact that she could easily live for a month on her fat stores alone).

However, this time "do you want dinner?" went unnoticed. Then she turned to look at me again and I asked her once more. Yawn. "Did you speak?" She obviously had not heard.

Jeri's running the can opener, a sure-fire attention getter, went unnoticed.

A week later, when I came home I opened the front door and she was sleeping on the bottom step. She didn't even open her eyes. She had not heard the car, she had not heard me open the door, and she wasn't even aware of the light shining on her face. In fact, I was sure she must be dead, but a few minutes later she looked up..."Oh? Are you home again?" she seemed to say, as she went back to dogging my ankles once more.

However, sometimes when the car pulls into the driveway, she is already at the door, yapping her "if you're here, why haven't you fed me yet" welcome. So it's obviously not total deafness.

She has decided that she's my protector.  She must save me from that terrible sucking machine that makes so much noise (whether she can hear it any more or not).   She's terrified of the vacuum cleaner, but all I have to do it get it out and, though she is immediately agitated, she plunks herself in the middle of the room, daring the sucking machine to cross her path.  As I vacuum, she gets more and more nervous and eventually moves behind a chair, but she's determined she's not going to leave me alone with that thing.

Kimba and I have had a rocky 14 year association. I didn't want her when she arrived and her early years were so annoying that as much as I love animals, and dogs in particular, I had to admit that I really did not like this dog. I have loved all of our other dogs (especially Benjy, who, though he was really too big, thought he was a lap dog, and who slept in my lap until he grew too sick to climb into the chair, and who always slept on my feet when I typed here at my desk). But I just have never been able to warm up to Kimba.

In her waning years, I am developing a grudging appreciation of her loyalty. She and I have developed this understanding that she leaves me alone (except for needing always to be nearby) and I leave her alone. I don't try to give her affection because one skritch on her head and she goes overboard, and it's just better if we keep our agreed upon distance from each other.

But I am noticing that she really has accepted me as "top dog" around here and has chosen to be my attentive slave.  She accepts that she's never going to be fussed over. She doesn't really like that arrangement, but if that fills her food dish at night, she seems to be content with it.


Dogs are always loyal.  They've never learned better.

~ Solomon Short

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Created 8/12/03 

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