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THE IMPORTANCE OF ROUTINE
31 August 2018
Ned says his dog, Bouncer, won't eat her dinner unless there is "something" sprinkled on it. It can be cheese or bread crumbs or left overs or dog treats...just something.
I think it's Jeri and Ned's dog, Lester, who can't finish her meal without going out into the back porch to see if there is anything there.
Dogs are creatures of habit and the older they get, the more imbedded they get.
I never noticed Polly being so tied to routine until after Lizzie died, but boy now, her routine is very important to her. She has stopped trying to wake me up for breakfast and lets me sleep as long as I want but as soon as my feet hit the ground, she's barking (one of the few times she wakes now) until I feed her.
She has finally accepted Ned as a regular around here and the barks that greet him are no longer "go away before I kill you barks" but more "you can stay if you give me a treat." One bit of a treat and she's fine.
She's an old lady now--about my age--and so she sleeps a lot. Her place to sleep is in Walt's recliner, always on the left side.
I generally feed her between 6 and 7, but around 4 she starts to convince me she's starving. I pet her, tell her it's too early and she goes away for 30-60 minutes, then comes back looking more pathetic. I ignore her until it's time for her to eat.
My favorite of her routines comes after dinner. It used to be that she and Lizzie ran outside before the end of their day, did their "end of the day business" and then started barking at the back fence. Walt called them in, gave them each treat, and closed the back door.
After dinner, Walt lets Polly lick both plates before putting them in the dishwasher.
After Lizzie died Polly didn't seem to know why she was supposed to go outside before bedtime.
Walt started telling her to go outside and after a long time would reluctantly go outside if he went out too. This went on for some time. Whether she actually did anything outside, I don't know but when they came in, he would close the door, get an ice cream treat for himself and for me, and then give Polly her tiny treat.
That would satisfy her and she would be down for the night.
This went on for some time until she finally figured out the routine. The routine is -- go outside, bark, come in, get treat. Now when she wants a treat, she will go outside, bark a couple of times, and then run back inside and let Walt know she's ready for a treat. I think she never connects "outside" with "pee" but it's what she has come to understand.
Sometimes, like her trying to convince me that "dinner" should be served at 4, she decides early that it's time for her treat and will run outside, bark and then run back in again, and then a few minutes later do it again. She knows that somehow going outside is connected to her getting a treat and me getting ice cream.
If she actually doesn't seem to be aware of the passage of time, and Walt starts to go to the freezer, she suddenly perks up, runs to the freezer, then whirls around, runs outside, barks once and runs back in again.
I watch this drama play out every night and love it each time.
Her other barking that used to be unexplainable is standing in front of Walt and barking, for no apparent reason. When he gets tired of it, he will get up to make sure she has water and immediately she jumps into his chair and curls up on the left side....she was just barking to let him know it was her turn to sleep in the chair.
The other night he had done everything and she still barked and he couldn't figure out why until he realized that he had only given her ONE of the two dinner plate and that the other one was still on the table. When he gave that one to her, she settled right down.
I have to admit that after 10 years, I have finally come to enjoy the little pipsqueak and her idiosyncrasies.
She has stopped running outside when we get home. Used to be you had to watch the two dogs at the door and as soon as Polly was out she was off like a flash right into the traffic. But she has come to associate "coming home" with "getting a treat" and instead of trying to get out she whirls around and, barking, leads us into the kitchen.
If nothing else, this little girl is very food responsive.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Happy Anniversary, Jeri and Phil
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This is entry #6732