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3 October, 2011
I love the morning love-in. Since Polly has settled in around here, days have taken on a real strong pattern and it's not surprising that when I go out of town, Polly gets all flummoxed. The day I went to Santa Barbara last week, for example, she managed to get through the barricade Walt puts up to keep her from going upstairs and later, Walt got a midnight phone call from Mr. McCoy complaining that she was barking outside again. We thought we had the problem solved with the noise alarm, on which we had just changed the batteries. But I guess the need to bark has superceded the pain in the ear from the dog-only noise from the alarm.
We were so concerned about what would happen when Walt was gone too that we had our friend, Jessica, lock the dogs in at night after she fed them. (Bless her heart, she made a special trip over here later, so the dogs wouldn't be locked in for so long.)
But anyway, when I am home, Polly is in hog heaven. She sleeps with me and is a wonderful sleep mate. She snuggles either under my arm pit, or along my left side, with her head under the blanket, and pretty much doesn't move all night, at least as long as I can tell.
I wake up before she does and when I get out of the recliner, I leave her covered with a blanket and I come in to my office. It is Polly who wakes the other two dogs up when she's finally hungry.
She comes into my office and stands under my desk and begins to whine very softly. I look down and pet her and her little butt goes into overdrive with that wagging tail. I ask if she's hungry. She begins her whirling dervish routine. She runs around in circles, backing up all the while, as I walk into the family room and start collecting bowls.
Then she follows me into the kitchen, leaping at the back of my legs until I put the bowls down, whereupon she backs away and keeps staring at me intently while I dish dog food into the bowls and add a spoonfull of nonfat cottage cheese...the pièce de resistance.
I put the bowls down, Lizzie's first, under the water cooler. Lizzie stands out in the hall and seems confused about where she should go to eat, despite the fact that she's been eating in this spot for years. Polly's is next, next to the stove. Polly immediately dives in, eats all her cottage cheese and then races to Lizzie's bowl to eat HER cottage cheese, while Lizzie still looks a bit dazed. Last is Sheila, who gets fed in the family room. She has been sitting there quietly while all the commotion is going on in the kitchen. She stands up regally and slowly starts eating her food.
Polly, by this time, has finished her cottage cheese and Lizzie's cottage cheese and is standing not too close to Sheila's bowl, hoping she will walk away, leaving some cottage cheese behind.
When all the cottage cheese is gone all three dogs check all three bowls and somehow all the dog kibble gets eaten.
While this is going on, I sit in my chair and pretty soon, Polly comes over for some lovin'. I pet her and scratch her and tell her what a good dog she is. Lizzie, hearing what is going on, comes over for her turn and she also gets petted and scratched and told what a good dog she is. Next it's Sheila, who puts her head down and held between my legs, up against the footrest of the chair. I scratch and scratch her back. Polly now joins in, putting her front paws on Sheila's back and pretty soon Lizzie is there too, all dogs licking each other's faces and ears, and all four of us sit there until I get tired of scratching them all and get up.
They go on about their business, Polly retiring to the recliner to spend most of the day sleeping. Occasionally she comes in for a skritch or a pat on the head. If the water bowl is empty, she will whine softly.
Occasionally Polly and Lizzie, who have become best buds, go out and start barking. I stand up, start to walk to the door to call them in and before I reach the door, they both come in, docilly. I rarely have to even speak to them to get them to come in--just stand there. Sometimes I reward them for coming in when I call them, other times not (going on the intermittent reward theory of training). Sheila stays outside because her job is to guard the house; Lizzie and Polly stay locked in the house for awhile...a doggie time out.
The in and out goes on all day, with the dogs being brought in as soon as they bark, which they seem to accept without a second thought.
Along about 5 p.m., Polly comes in to my office, whining. I tell her it's too early for dinner. She goes back to sleep, returning every 20 minutes or so until I finally get up to feed them all.
I start cooking our dinner and when the timer goes off, or the microwave buzzes, Polly rushes in here to see if I hear it. If I don't get up, she barks once or twice. OK, Polly...I'll take care of it.
After dinner Polly and Lizzie have about half an hour of wrestling time, chasing each other, growling, rolling around on the floor together, and then it's time to sleep. Polly sleeps in my chair, but occasionally comes in to my office to when and let me know that she is ready to cuddle with me.
I don't know how I ever was able to take care of
anything before Polly came along to run my life.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
The family that roots for the 9ers together....