March 25, 2010

Little Ducky, one of the first Ratbone dogs, (Nov. 99) who I adopted, is now 11 years old and becoming quite spoiled and contrary in his old age.

For example, if he doesn't eat something in the morning, his tummy gets rumbly then he won't eat in the evening. He has now learned that I am more committed to him having breakfast than he is. So, he will refuse to take a biscuit when the other dogs get theirs. He will sniff it then look away with a pitiful "I just don't think I can handle that" look. In response, he has trained me to go to the kitchen and fix him bread and milk for breakfast. In fact if he is in a real mood, I will have to microwave it for 10 seconds before serving.

Two weeks ago Monday, I had to travel across the state to attend mandatory training. I fought this for 2 years, to no avail and I was finally forced to go. Three years ago, I gave up going to my summer carving workshop because watching the dogs was becoming too much for my dad so it has been that long since Ducky has had a significant separation from me. If I have gone visiting for a couple days, he is usually able to go along.

I explained all of Ducky's special eating needs to my dad before I left on Monday morning. I also told him to let my personal dogs sleep in my room at night since they are used to sleeping on my bed. I wanted to cause them as little stress as possible. Ducky especially has always fretted when I was gone.

When I returned home the following Saturday evening, everyone jumped around and barked excitedly. Ducky did his little Ratty bay at me. When my dad told me how the week went however, he informed me that he didn't see a reason to fix the bread and milk because Ducky ate very well all week and took biscuits. I was feeling worked.

In addition, Ducky pouted or maybe was just punishing me. For the first four nights after I returned, he REFUSED to sleep on my bed. He would crawl in the dog bed that is on the floor under my bed but would not come up no matter how much I called or cajoled. If I physically picked him up to put him on the bed, he would growl at me and once on the bed, he would promptly get down and go back under the bed.

Finally, last night I put him on the bed and he crawled under the covers and stayed there. Tonight, he put his feet on the bed, asking to be put up and once there went rooting to get under the covers. I guess he felt I had been adequately reprimanded for going off without him. Sometimes, I think I'm too prone to anthropomorphism, I mean they are DOGS after all! Other times however, I really think they are just scary smart.