HOW DOES A DOG TELL YOU…

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 Chelsea D. Dog and me 2012

 

Many people have owned a dog. If you look at the dog and human bond as ownership, not companionship, you might want to skip this blog. Anyone who has ever felt it a privilege to live with a dog can tell you a dog has a soul. A dog feels emotional pain. A dog is always happy to see you. That’s more than I can say for humans.

HOW DOES A DOG TELL YOU HE’S COLD?

When I arrive home from work in the bitter Florida cold (i.e., anything under 70 degrees Fahrenheit), walking upstairs to change into something more comfortable is the last thing I want to do. I’ve been finding  the lounge wear that I keep in the office on the bottom shelf of a bookcase dumped on the floor. Woofie would be laying on one of my thickest fleece shirts or pants, looking at me as if to say, “I don’t know how it got here.”

I couldn’’t chastise him for it without catching him at it, so I waited. When I heard pawing, I quietly looked over the computer, watching as he took all but one thing off the bottom shelf.  Then he contentedly plopped down on the pile.  I took the one thing he didn’t paw out of the shelf–a fleece robe–and placed it on top of him.  That’s when I got the brown-eyed guilty-dog face, the one that says, “Do I look pitiful enough to get out of trouble?”

In fact yes, he did.  I turned on the electric heater.

HOW DOES A DOG SAY, “IT’S BETTER TO ASK FORGIVENESS THAN PERMISSION.”??

The boys (2 cats roughly the size of cocker spaniels) like their canned food at certain times of the morning and evening, munching on cat chow the rest of the day. One kitchen counter is reserved for this feast where the brothers eat off 1 white disposable plate side by side, their tails hanging off the edge of the counter.

 

All 5 of the dogs sit. It’s their way of saying, “I want it.” They disburse if the cats finish everything on the plate.

 

If there’s 1 strand of cat food left, the biggest dog—82 pounds of gentle—waits until I’m otherwise occupied. Then he ever so slyly puts one paw at the edge of the counter, quietly lifts his head toward the plate and grasps the edge with his teeth. Once the tongue scraping begins, it’s too late to do anything about it. Before you can get through the door, he’ll immediately sit in front of the plate as if to say, “Not me. I just got here.”

 

I caught him in the act, his teeth firmly clenched onto the plate. He dropped it looked up at me with doe eyes, put his paw on the plate and I said, “No!” He lay down in front of it, paws spread next to his head, eyes rolled up at me and sighed like a bored teenager. That didn’t work, so he whimpered a little.

 

There are some things the brown eyed guilty dog face isn’t going to change. The fact that a 5 pound paw is clamping down a styrofoam plate isn’t going to stop me from lifting it off. Nor will it stop me from giving kitty leftovers to the dogs that didn’t steal it from the counter.

 

Does this deter his quest for the coveted canned cat food? Ha! The next time he waited until I was in the bathroom.

HOW DOES A DOG TELL YOU LIFE IS A GAS?

What dog in this country isn’t sick? Dogs aren’t meant to eat dried, pasteurized, processed food-like substances made from protein that’s been overloaded with various quantities of vaccines, antibiotics, and growth hormones.  Did I forget to mention the genetically modified grains thrown in as fillers? Different dogs systems react differently to this rotten excuse for food.  The worst is the gas they produce because of it. The 82 pound dog farts like an overfed trucker. The 68 pound dog whom we lovingly call fat dog, enjoys more than her share of kitty gourmet fresh picked from outside (i.e, cat food that’s passed through a cat too lazy to bury it). She can’t be in a room with me if the door is closed for fear I’ll pass out from the aroma. It makes you wonder if dinosaur flatulence really could be the reason the beasts became extinct. 

 

Years ago my sister adopted a retired greyhound and I can tell you for a fact that greyhounds get the number 1 award for the worst smelling dog farts ever.  That dog could have been placed in a 4×4 room with a militant in Gitmo, bars the only barrier between them, and the bravest of extremists would have been spilling their guts in an hour–—if not the contents of their stomach.

 

HOW DOES A DOG SAY, “I LOVE YOU?”

I’ve read that dogs don’t really smile. There are more ways to smile than aiming the corners of your lips toward your eyes. Not once in my decades of dog companionship have I been greeted by anything less than joyful barks, sparkling eyes, and the wagging tail that says, “I’m happy you’re home!” THAT is the way a dog smiles.

 

How does a dog show love? If love is patient, it’s the dog who waits by the gate all day for her human friend to return home from work. If love is kind, it’s the dog who stands still so that you can grab onto him when you fall. A dog who has grown up as a companion always protects, always trusts. There is not a single doubt in my mind that if I were attacked, my dogs would defend me to the death. There aren’t a whole lot of humans I can say that about.

 

THREE THINGS I’VE LEARNED FROM MY DOGS

  • Never pick a fight with the human equivalent of a pit bull. If he’s going to go after you anyway, be sure your friends are with you.

  • Bark first, growl second, bite third. You may still be put behind bars, but if the stupid human didn’t get the first 2 warnings, you’re probably safer being incarcerated.

  • The longer I live with dogs, the more convinced I am that they’re better to live with than humans. I know for a fact they’re easier to live with than me.