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Oh, My God...She's SITTING DOWN!!!!!!!
29 December 2005
This is the canine rallying cry that I imagine ringing out silently around my family room 12+ hours a day.
If I get up from my desk, the dogs get up and they follow me out to the family room, where they either stick close to my ankles or they engage in a wrestling match, with fangs flashing, growls growling and sounding every much as if they hated each other, until the one on the bottom gets tired, rolls over and gets up, then they trot off companionably for another few feet until one jumps on top of the other again and the tussle continues.
I've learned a lot about dog behavior from observing the interactions between Sheila and the foster-dog-du-jour around here over the past year.
But all play stops the minute my butt hits my office chair. I can't see them from here, but I just know that it's a Bambi moment. Remember how "Mother" is grazing on the meadow when suddenly her head jerks up and she just knows something. is. wrong.
I imagine this constant wrestling match going on in my family room suddenly coming to a halt, heads jerking up, three ears pointed to the ceiling, one flopped over, and then both bodies rush in here and settle down at my feet, as if it is part of their job. They've been assigned by some canine higher power to sleep at my feet whenever I sit down and they are afraid they've been caught slacking off.
While this proclivity of the dogs can range from sweet to bothersome (depending on my mindset), when I'm in the middle of cleaning up, it's downright annoying, especially because Latte thinks that another part of her job is to continually lick my sock-clad feet (which is only slightly better than if I were barefoot)
I realize that the reason why the dogs haven't figured this out yet is because cleaning up happens so seldom around here, so it's my own damn fault.
But on days like today when I'm trying to clear away the post-Christmas clutter, scan Christmas photos (I make a slide show each year of the photos we've received), check to make sure I have the current address of all the senders, etc., it's a job which involves a lot of up and down. Since the dogs sleep on my feet, every time I get up, it means not only hauling my bulk from semi-prone to standing, but it also means extricating my feet from under these furry, breathing "slippers" that I have acquired.
With a heavy sigh, they get up and dutifully follow me into the family room, 'cause that's part of their job duties and then when 20 seconds later, I'm back at my desk, they rush back in here to curl up on my feet again. This same scene is played out dozens of time each day until I want to give them the day off, with pay, if necessary.
Go, my children! Frolic! Play! Nap!
Just get off my damn feet!!!!!!!!
But at least there is some comfort in knowing that if Latte is curled up on my feet or between my legs, I know where she is. I won't be hearing crashing sounds, or munching sounds that I don't recognize and am afraid to investigate for fear of finding out what new thing she has discovered to chew.
Latte is still here and she is, I know, convinced that she has finally found a home. She hasn't. But the "potential great home" that Ashley mentioned to me when she asked if we would be home the day after Christmas, apparently didn't materialize, at least not on Monday, since I have not heard from Ashley.
At this point, it's all relative anyway. Latte is here. She has been worked into the schedule, I'm used to her. The desperation to find a home NOW has faded.
This does not mean that I am considering keeping her permanently for one eyeblink. What makes Latte "endearing" is knowing that we are enjoying her antics when we feel like it, but that she is leaving sooner or later.
I will not deny that I absolutely love watching the two dogs playing. I love it that Kimba has begun playing, perhaps for the first time in her life, because of Latte. I love laughing when Latte takes hold of Kimba's bed and drags it out into the middle of the room, hoping to wake her up so she will get up and play. I love it that Sheila finally has someone who loves playing tug of war as much as she does and who has as strong an iron jaw as Sheila does, so can match Sheila by hanging on for dear life for long periods of a time, growing and tugging all the time. I fear my interest in this game ends very quickly. There is absolutely no shortened attention span with Latte.
I love it that she is so good about being caged when we are gone, and that she does not set up a howl at night when I put her in the cage for the night. I love that she runs to the cage when I say "it's time to go to bed."
So yes, there is a lot to like about Latte. But I don't like her insistence at always having the attention--she's the canine equivalent of Ned! It's impossible to give Sheila any individual attention at all because Latte is always pushing her away...and Sheila is still top dog in my heart!
I hate that in her dedication to be. with. me. at. all. times. she curls up in front of the stove when I'm cooking, in front of the sink when I'm cleaning and walking back and forth across the tiny kitchen when I'm moving from stove to sink and back again. It's endearing that she needs to be with me...and it's only strict self-discipline which keeps me from giving her a swift kick after the fourth or fifth time I've tripped over her.
Latte is a sweet, wonderful dog who deserves a person of her own, not one she has to share. She can stay as long as she needs to, but sooner or later that "great family for Latte" is going to show up and I will be thrilled to know that she will begin to bond with another family--and drive another woman nuts.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
OK--I posted this before, but somehow it