Monday, February 16, 2009

Pay Attention, Mom!

I work from home - sometimes a week goes by where I barely leave the house. Other weeks, I'm in and out a lot to meetings, errands, a walk with a friend. Today has been mixed - a relatively leisurely morning, since it's a holiday for many of my clients.

So now I'm home, checking email, filing a report. The dogs went out for a while in the yard, checking out new rabbit tracks, and now are back inside. Yesterday, one of them - probably Aretha, perhaps Hank - brought in a stick. Ok, not just a stick - a branch. The main branch is a good 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and maybe two feet long. There are several branches off that main piece, a bit gnarled - you can see these in the picture of the stick. Of course yesterday, and most of today, the stick was longer - those gnarly bits were actual branches extending several inches.

Since I've been home, however, the stick has been the focus of a lot of attention. I've heard banging around, some playful growling, more toenail clicks than I should have (time for the dremel again!), and the stick landing and sliding across the floor repeatedly.

And all this leads me to ask - why now? Why not while I was gone? There was free time, lots of opportunity to destroy the stick, and presumably not that much that was interesting going on. It's not like I leave the TV on so that the dogs can catch reruns of Law and Order, the National Dog Show on Animal Planet, or "Designing for Dogs" on HGTV.

In fact lately when I'm gone, I have been coming home to destroyed books, the responsibility for which I'm laying at Hank. Originally a foster dog, Hank was very fearful when he first arrived. Now, about 8 months into living here, he is loosening up - and apparently experiencing his first true puppyhood, complete with exuberant destructive tendencies.

But when I come home, if I slip in unexpected and unheard, the girls are lounging on the sofa and the chairs, all is quiet. Until I'm in the house, when play breaks out, Bassets race from one end of the house to the other, sticks are destroyed. Is this because it's nearly dinner time, and they don't want me to forget? Or is this all a ploy for attention - the doggie equivalent of "look at me, Mom, hey... MOM, look at ME!"?

One of my favorite books is Stanley Coren's "How to Speak Dog". It's all about dog-to-dog communication - one of the most accessible books I've read on the subject. I wish he'd write another on "How to Understand Dog". It would really help me sort out what all that banging in the other room is *really* about!

1 comment:

  1. Your Bassets seem to have the same attitude as mine, Sylvie. The one which compels them to "monitor" the bunnies in their yard, watching them peacefully across the grass until they see me watching them. Then they jump up, barking, "I'm on it, Mom!"
    Sometimes I wish they could talk, other times I know exactly what they are saying. Still others, I know what they are thinking, and am so very glad that they can't speak! (Never mind the times when they know exactly what I am saying to them, yet weigh whether ot not to attend.)