Saturday, December 8, 2012

Talking the Dog

Anyone who has lived with a dog learns a foreign language, as does the dog. Some dogs are whiz kids and even learn sign language, and to speak on command. Boomer and I aren't on that level- we speak pidgin dog-lish- but we manage.

Boomer is a strange study in contrasts. He loves routine, but not rules. He is insanely jealous of anyone else getting my attention, muttering under his breath when J and I sit at the table and talk, or bouncing over to me if I dare pet Anna. When I pet him, and Anna or the baby are in the room, he squirms with joy, and flaunts the love. But if Ameranth picks up the dog brush, he quickly positions himself in front of her and sits quietly, his skin rippling with pleasure as she scratches his back.

When I get up to visit the bathroom in the early hours, if it's light out, Boomer will quietly walk over and meekly say good morning. I pet him, I go back to bed, he goes back to bed. I know he's already been outside, before J went to work. However, when he feels it's time, I hear a soft whine outside my door. If I ignore him long enough, he goes upstairs and wakes Ameranth, so most days I get up and let him out.

Next, we walk out to get the paper. He is allowed out off leash because he stays around and comes when called. Mostly. Anna does not, and if she catches us, he has to stay inside too. So we have to be werry, werry qwiet. I swear, the dog tiptoes to the door. Any other time of the day, he levitates and spins in circles all the way to the door, if he thinks there's a chance of going out.

Our conversations are usually short and to the point. He comes to the computer and whines- I look at the clock and tell he's not being fed. "It's too early, you have to wait" results in him lying down on the dog bed next to my computer with a long-suffering sigh.   "OK dinnertime" means another series of pirouettes as he makes sure I get the food, add water, and deliver it. I know people say it's the tone used that sends the message, but no matter how I say the word 'dinner', he knows what it means and is happy.

If he wants to go out and I'm in the kitchen, he stands still with his head pointing toward the door, waiting until I notice him. Other times, he comes up and I'll ask if he wants to go out- ears up and tail wagging= yes. Ears laid back and slowly sinking body means no. If the dogs get a little too rambunctious at night, we'll threaten them with putting them outside, and they immediately slink off and settle down.

He watches me too. If I pick up my glass and snack, or a book, he trots off to the living room to settle down there. Sometimes it's the computer room instead. And it's not just me- If Ameranth makes a move to put shoes on (because she's usually barefoot) both dogs think there might be a walk coming-if I tighten my laces at the same time- they are positive!

Ameranth has taught Anna more commands (turn around, wrong way, come this way, and watch out!) but Anna is a husky and a pretty smart one. Boomer is neither. He frustrates me with his jealousy/anxiety and his insistence on jumping on people in excitement that we just have not been able to change, but we always end up saying, "He's a good little dog". And he is.


Grampa said...

And aren't you glad you 'rescued' him!

Kelly Sheehy said...

Awwwww...sweet Boomer! :)