Monday, November 20, 2006

Canis Domesticus

We have two. If there were every two canines that were opposites of the personality spectrum, these two have to be it. They are both working dogs, that is, they have a job in service to the public. But, like any other family where members are in public service, these two are also beloved family members.

Thinking about my morning with these ‘family members’ is unique. I believe the best way to explain what I mean is to run you through the first 15 minutes of every day.

The Characters:
Me – Me; a.k.a. Old Man
OD – Old Dog; Mutt, Humane Society adoption. He is certified with three separate agencies/organizations in his area of expertise. And working on two or three more in a separate area. He is a few days from seven years. He is white with large brown spots. OD is 55 pounds.
ND – New Dog; Pure bread Border Collie, cost us almost a grand, plus driving 16 hours one way to get her… She is still in training, but is VERY good at what she does and should be certified with the same three agencies before February. She is a few days over one year. She is brown with some white areas (her white shapes don’t qualify as spots). ND is 35 pounds.

A loud screeching noise breaks the silence and rather violently interrupts my slumber. “Damn alarm clock” as I knock the lamp off the night stand trying to find the snooze button. All the while the screeching is getting louder (they call it “gentle wake” – yea right!!! Some Chinese engineers idea of a sick joke.). Aahh , silence. Peace. Quite. Dreams… Screeching screaming noise eight minutes and fifty seconds later. Not only does it jip me out of a full ten minute snooze, but I’d swear it’s steeling precious seconds from my very required beauty sleep. “fine, I’ll get up” I mumble to my self as I grab my glasses.

OD sleeps on the floor on my side of the bed so he gives me the constant challenge to groggily get to the bathroom without stepping on him. You should try stepping over a fifty-five pound dog sprawled out between the bed and the wall. Never, keep in mind, in the same place. I’m sure it is just to keep me guessing. And God forbid should you step on some fur, he’ll be sure you’re awake with a yelp that would wake the dead. But for some reason not my wife.

Throw on some sweats and head down stairs. OD waits for me to get about 3 steps down then runs past me howl-growling “come on old man, the new kid has to pee!!” There is always a scratching noise coming from ND’s crate. ND yawning says “is it morning already”, full well knowing that I know she has been awake for hours... She is stretching and flexing her claws, scratching at the crate floor. Quite the eerie sound if you aren’t expecting it. OD grumbles “I don’t have to go, but just incase this is my only chance, I’ll go. But don’t put me out until SHE is going out” As I approach ND’s crate she starts a yawning, moaning, howling, stretching kind of audible talking. Which translates loosely to “oh jeese, it has been a long time since I saw you. I HAVE TO GO!!! Hurry…”,

I grab her leash and undo the crate door latches and swing the door open. This is where the ‘greet you’ joust starts. ND comes out of the crate at full speed and with her second step she will start bouncing. Not really a big deal but she is usually between my legs at the second step. Yep you guessed it… A great way to start the morning. My goal in the joust is to catch ND by the collar at the moment of exit from the crate. Thus curtailing her bouncing joy until I have the leash snapped on. I’m proud to say, I’m usually successful. I stand up and the bouncing resumes. Keep in mind this is a dog that is less the 20” tall, but can just about lick my face by just bouncing straight up, all in about 0.5 seconds. We head for the door and she is in scan mode (head going back and forth in a very frantic OCD kind of way) looking for a ball or Frisbee. Once sighted we must go get it and bring it to the front door. Thank God for retractable leashes or I’d most likely have rug burn or a dislocated shoulder every morning.

OD patiently watches this ballet every morning with head slightly lowered saying “come near me with that much enthusiasm pup, and we’ll go ‘round”. ND usually bounces over and hip slams OD once just for good measure. I open door and we head out. ND is either under or on top of OD by this point, never patient enough to wait a micro second and OD won’t let her be first. Before I can step out the door, ND is off the porch, down the stairs heading around the house, then BOING, she hits the end of her 24 foot leash, falls to the ground, walks back a bout two feet and does what she needs to…

OD (with his Invisible Fence collar) is around back enjoying the last few minutes of the morning peace and quiet for this day. He heads back to the front and as he approaches, ND takes on the stalking/herding pose her breed is famous for, (laying down on the ground, head down between her front paws). Once she can’t take it any more, she springs once again with the un-bounding energy of youth. IF she didn’t come back far enough she gets her neck wrung and falls to the ground, OD prances by and I’d swear he’s smiling. If ND has the leash limit in her calculations, OD get slammed again and this starts the morning “words”. A full flury of ‘jaw sparing’, wrestling and ND body slamming OD 10-15 times.

Up the stairs, on the porch and stand by the front door. Before I can get there ND will go from OD’s left side to his right side and back about 3 times. I open the door and ND is again on top of or under OD. Trying her darnedest to be in front of OD, but he always manages to stay just even or slightly in front. Once she is un-hooked she grabs the afore mentioned ball and heads upstairs to make sure my wife is up. OD heads for the stairs, turns to look at me and says “Just remember, I’m certified, I was free and I have NEVER racked you first thing in the morning”. Before I can say anything, he turns and heads upstairs to sleep on the bed until the Mrs is done in the shower and able to give him his morning belly rubs.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like you've got some really cut, and really great dogs there DNR. My Golden has the same habits as your bigger dog, when he's done with his morning potty ritual he goes up and gets in bed with Jose until he leaves the bed. Great Post BTW.

Anonymous said...

LOL! You just described my black lab Hunter, and my pitbull Rusty. Rusty is always hopping and zipping around, Hunter just stands there and waits for him to get tired and then smacks him down and sits on his head.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I can identify with the ritual, though that doesn't happen here. Training high-energy dogs is hard work, I know from experience. This was funny in a cackling, "better him than me" kind of way!

Justin said...

Hey, a nice post on working dogs. They sound g888 to me...And hey, you too can check out this post on working dogs. I hope u'll like it...

God bless

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