Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yes ?
What do you want ?
Blink of the right eye.
Do you want to go out ?
Another blink.
Are you hungry ?
Wooden railing which I'm holding onto creaks,
Mandy looks at the door.

Then, the stare continues.

I walk back into the house through the entryway door. The little shit trots back to a prominent place on the couch where she can keep an eye on me. My constant companion.

2:51 am by the LED clock on the gas stove. She wakes me out of a dream where I probably was selling a car that wouldn't start or walking naked down the sidewalk. Unh, unh she whines. I grab my glasses from the bookshelf and walk downstairs. The routine is very precise. She waits on the stairs until I flick the switch on the back hall/entryway light. The noise of the back door lock release , signals "go". I quickly open the storm door and she runs out. I watch for a moment and see her stop momentarily, look right down the sidewalk to the front yard. I have to pee so I do not continue to monitor her behavior. When I return from the bathroom, she sitting in the same place. It's unusual that the cat isn't anywhere to be seen. Usually, he lies on the top stair watching the action. Mandy comes in. Then the cat appears from the bowels of the basement.

In my sleep induced stupor I don't connect the stain on the carpet with Mandy. I'd left the bedroom door ajar. Mandy slips down the stairs to leave her mark. Hence, there's no need to pee at 2:51 am. The little shit is faking. I throw a terry towel over the stain and press down with my foot. In the morning I'll be cleaning carpet. I'm disturbed that she's created yet more work. Work that never seems to end. When I tell my wife about the episode, she immediately starts upon a solution. I interrupt before she can begin. It's 7:30. She has to drive the twenty minutes to work. We don't have time for this discussion. Besides, I've already run over the scenario in my mind. It's 4 am before I get back to sleep. Determined that the event does not replay. I close the bedroom door and tell myself that no amount of fake whining will move me. The dog stirs frequently. The cat is on patrol. In the morning we find a fresh mouse kill under the kitchen table. One of those loud meows is the announcement to anyone who'll listen, "I caught a mouse in the basement."

I love my animals. They're driving me up a wall. I treat them as much as possible as equals. They run free. The proximity of the highway, wild animals and door construction details doesn't allow them to come and go as they please through a swinging dog/cat door. I'm chef, doorman and parent. I watch Mandy beating up on the cat, biting his ears. It doesn't matter that two minutes ago, the cat was crouched behind the tire of the truck, wiggling in a pounce crouch, leaping out at the dog. The cat won't take a healthy swipe at the dog's face warning her, "You're hurting my ears." I slide the kitchen window open. "Mandy, stop that." She knows the drill. She looks up and trots away from the cat. She'll lie on the grass for a prescribed amount of time until she determines that the old man has forgotten about her and will annoy the cat, again.

They're the best of friends and the worst of enemies. The cat finds the butt sniffing and nose licking annoying. If he finds a fresh kill, the dog will interfere causing him to lose the thing in high grass. If I pet the cat, the dog demands attention.

I catch myself reinforcing another bad behavior ( NO, Dawn it's not the biting routine). At breakfast the dog sits next to the table. Her silent but intent stare for food from the table. This morning, in response to a comment from the vet when Mandy had her spay surgery. "Some dogs prefer meat." Mandy eats dry dog food only as a last measure. Then, it's almost before bedtime. Bad food eating habits. I reinforce more bad habits by feeding her part of my bagel. This morning I fry some fresh ground pork in a bit of bacon fat. She comes over to me as I eat my breakfast reading a novel. I place the plate of fresh ground pork on my left where the dog usually sits, staring at me. She ignores the plate and moves to the other side of my chair.

The little shit.

That's it. Time to crack down. No more table scraps.

And those other solutions? I know what you're thinking. Johann and I are going to Johnson's One Stop for lumber. Time to finish the breezeway. There'll be no mosquito excuse for not keeping her in her dog house at night.

Speaking of skeeters, I notice that none of the two most recent books I read ever make mention of mosquitoes. Both take place in the South. It's like the movies where New York appears to be a fun loving exciting place of lights, glamor and wonderful loft apartments. No body ever goes to the bathroom.

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