Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dover figures it out

Dover has always been awkward on our stairs - he still bobs down them like a wind-up Easter chick and it is always a relief to one and all when he reaches the ground floor.

The other morning he made off (with great glee) with a piece of Tom's clothes;  he was three steps down on his way to his lair when I said: "Dover! Take it to Tom!" This is a request he knows and follows religiously. He stopped in mid-track, knowing there would be a dog biskit ahead if he delivered up his goods as asked. He tried to back up the stairs, but he couldn't get his hind feet up the step and his front feet didn't know what to do it this process. Next he tried to make a u-turn, but his body is too big and the stairway is too narrow to accomplish this maneuver safely. He stood stock till for a few seconds to assess the situation, then he continued down the nine remaining stairs to the ground floor, turned around, dashed back up the stairs, delivered the goods, got his treat, and basked in the congratulations and hands-on appreciation that followed.

Dover's reasoning process was wonderfully transparent - so I say to all those border collie people out there who don't mind having a dog that is smarter than they are: Golden retrievers -  more than a pretty face!

Photo from 2008: Dover takes his first look down the stairs he just climbed so easily, while his hero Jonah secretly hopes the little cockroach falls out of his life.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

An Easter (2005) Story of Lemon Tarts

Easter morning, 2005, on his early morning walk, the little dog, "the dog that eats food", as my granddaughter Mollie calls him, did indeed eat some garbage. He is very fast, nonchalantly sniffing for news of the day one minute, executing a lightening fast dart for the rotting morsel lying forgotten by the curb the next. He swallows whole, so we had no idea what it was that graced his stomach this Easter morning. 

Later, after the Easter services proclaimed new life and unconditional love to all, 19 people and four extra dogs started arriving for Easter Dinner, toting in rolls and carrots and dip and assorted wet stuff. And deserts. I lost track of what came and where it went, but a safe stashing place is our pantry, which is guarded by a swinging door to which we have installed a hook and eye latch above child and dog reach. We were safe - locks and many eyes and a multitude of distractions kept all courses of our meal safe.

In the middle of this pleasant confusion, someone called out: "Why is the dog locked in the pantry?" She was referring to Little Dog, a now full grown golden retriever, whose proper name is Mungo. She then closed and relocked the pantry door. I assumed she had extracted Mungo, but a few minutes later, when I didn't see him milling around looking for an opening to the counter top, I peeked into the pantry, and there he was, standing on his hind feet, fully extended and upright, grossly enjoying a tray full of lemon tarts. By the time we recovered our senses and removed the offender (dog, not the persons who had locked and relocked him in with one of the most treasured Easter desserts) he had easily eaten over a dozen tarts and nibbled on several more. He left us about six.

So, this is one piece of plate poaching the we could not blame on "the dog who eats food,” because a dog that finds himself locked in a small space with lemon tarts in mouth-reach has no other choice: he must eat before all is discovered.

Later, the so-called good dog, Mungo's elderly uncle, who only steals food when it is absolutely necessary in order to maintain his honor, surgically removed a piece of lamb from the youngest guest's plate when she was off in pursuit of something with more sugar.
Well, the wages of thievery are dyspepsia, but on the day after Easter that does not seem to deter the Little Dog from continual pursuit of fallen (or not) morsels to soothe his cravings; having rediscovered there is more to life than kibble and street garbage, he too is living in that Easter hope that brings love and new life in unexpected places.

Mungo, in memoriam, 2002 - 2008