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NEVER LET A DOG READ
8 November 2005
I clearly don't know what goes on in this house after I go to sleep.
It has become obvious to me that during the middle of the night somehow a creature without opposable thumbs has figured out how to log into Marn's journal and is picking up tips from Marn's cats on how to train a person to do whatever you want them to do.
It's a plot, I tell you. A plot to drive me insane.
Now, Sheila has a perfectly fine dog door and has never watched me open the door for the express purpose of letting another creature out (though when we have a dog of the size of Slingshot, I do leave the door open all the time), but being the clever dog that she is, she has clearly extrapolated from Marn's cat's behavior and reworked it into a routine that seems to work for her.
I guess I hadn't been aware of how proficient she had become at it until this morning, our first without Slingshot. These past weeks, the morning routine has involved a lot of mouth wrestling to pass the time until I finish reading e-mail and get my lazy butt off the office chair and go to fill the canines' bowls with their morning repast.
This morning there is no Slingshot and so, the pangs of hunger having called to her, Sheila calmly sauntered outside and over to the neighbors' fence and barked. Once. Twice. Three times. Three barks is about what it takes to get me up out of my chair and to the sliding glass door to call her back in.
Only I don't have to call her at all any more. It used to be that she'd hear the door open and she'd come running. Now I swear she has timed it so that by the time I open the door, she's already running inside again, head held high, big grin on her face, body wiggling.
We have a battle of wills.
I know she's hungry.
I know it's time to feed her.
But I also know that the reason she was outside barking was to tell me that it's time to feed her, and if I feed her it will only reinforce the fact that any time she wants me to do something, all she has to do is go outside and bark.
Oh, she pretends to be barking at another dog, or a strange noise. She never barks so that it looks like she is barking at me. But her meaning is very clear.
We played the "No, I won't feed you just because you bark outside" game three times. Each time, she'd come bounding in, all happy and each time I didn't feed her she'd go back outside again and bark. I finally gave up and fed her, whereupon she went to sleep at my feet.
Pretty soon she went outside and barked again. That's when I discovered that her water dish was empty. As soon as I filled the water dish, she was settled in for her morning nap.
And then there's Kimba. Kimba doesn't have opposable thumbs either and she's not able to climb up and use my computer, but then she's not interested. Kimba lives in her own little world. I don't know what her breed really is, but there has to be some stubborn German in her somewhere (I can say that because somewhere in my genes there is a bit of German as well).
Kimba's pack instincts are extremely strong. She must be with me at all times, no matter what. She will agree to be separated by the width of half a room, if I'm in a chair and she gets into her bed, but that's it. If I move, she heaves a big heavy sigh and moves. I've been wanting to tell her for years that it's really OK. She doesn't have to get up just because my bladder decided it needed tending to. But she does.
When I sweep, she stands in the middle of the dust and "helps" me. Not. There is something about trying to sweep up a puppy-sized dust bunny with a small dog standing in the middle of it.
There are people who live lives outside of their homes. They go off to jobs, they volunteer, they meet for lunch, they go shopping, they take vacations.
Me? I stay home and let the dogs rule my life.
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