09. February 2006 · Comments Off on Adventures with the Lesser Weevil, Part the Second · Categories: Domestic, General, Pajama Game

The Lesser Weevil is, to put it plainly, a very attractive and fine-looking figure of a dog, and a great many charmed people have said so, as she frolicked up towards them, and bathed them in the affection of her regard. A lovely light golden brown in color, with a white blaze on her chest, and around her nose (otherwise darkly masked), the toes of all four feet tipped in white, and a little white flag on the tip of her tail; her eyes are dark gold, and very intelligent. She is sociable towards all humans and most other dogs, save for those former who are coming as strangers up to the house, or the latter, who are barking in an otherwise hostile fashion. She loves to meet other dogs and their humans, and is unflagging in her attempts to get the cats to romp with her; she has also taken to being an indoor pet with a great deal of zest and enthusiasm. As I opened this progress report, she was blissfully asleep on the den sofa, keeping Blondie company during “Antiques Roadshow”.

Other progress has been made, towards grasping the concept of controlling bowels and bladder inside the house; she comes into my bedroom in the early morning and stands beside the bed, whining faintly, and nudging my arm. At these moments, I keep visualizing a small but well-behaved child, shifting uneasily from foot to foot, and pleading, “Ma’am, I hafta go pee…I really hafta pee… Ma’am, I really, really hafta go pee, pleeeeeeese let me out, I hafta pee!” Really, it is quite intelligent of her to come and wake me up directly, rather than go through this performance at the sliding door into the back yard (at the other end of the house, take note) in the hope that the fuss might wake Blondie or I up. This morning, I opened the slider door, she went out briskly, trotted around the corner to the “Designated Puppy Pooping Precinct”, did her business efficiently (to judge by the rustling of the leaves) and came back to the door where I was waiting and let her in again. Five minutes, if that. Both of us were curled up and asleep again in a matter of moments… But in separate spaces.

Really, I am not that so far-gone that I would let her sleep on my bed, like one of the cats, although that has not stopped her from trying to climb onto the back of the armchair. The cats curl up on it, why not she, or so she appears to think, happily ignorant of the brute physical fact that she outweighs Henry and Arthur by about forty pounds. She does live in hope of enticing any or all of them to frolic with her in a happily ecumenical manner, but so far only Percival and Sammy show any signs of responding. Percival allows her to lick his ears and nudge him, and he cuffs her nose and nips lightly at her ears until he gets tired of it all. Morgie and Henry stalk off in offended dignity, and Little Arthur hisses like a leaky teakettle. (How that cat can keep a prolonged growl going without taking a breath is a marvel- wonderful breath control, he should be an opera singer.) None of them seem to be in the least afraid of her; rather the opposite. She does keep a wary distance between herself and Arthur, who is the master of the drive-by clawing. And Blondie has observed Arthur actually stalking her, or laying in ambush.

We bought a couple of the different smoked dog-bones which seem to help with the chewing problem: the small ones barely lasted a day or so, the large one is now in two pieces, but she’s been working on it for a couple of weeks. I bought a bottle of the bitter-tasting spray compound, which might have induced her to let the porch furniture and the garden trellis alone, but alas for the plants not killed by the December frost. The backyard is pretty well devastated…. In the spring I will have to come up with some dog-proof landscaping. I’m afraid that large rocks and a lot of gravel will feature heavily.

The halti-harness/restraint worked out after a some false starts: First, she chewed through the safety strap that links the halti to her collar: off to the hardware store for two sprung rings and a short length of chain. And one morning, she took off after a squirrel, like a rocket accelerating. The leash with the patent reel ran out all the way and then snapped, and she kept going. Well, at least she came back after the squirrel shot up into a handy tree, and there weren’t any cars on the street at that hour of the morning. That flimsy leash is replaced with a chain leash… gnaw on this, Weevil! She has caught on to that whole “heeling” concept quite splendidly, and paces along at a trot, with her head just by my left knee for most of our morning run, although the first block or so is taken up with the puppy-wrestling match. She takes an end of the leash in her teeth and pulls vigorously, dancing at the end of it like a dervish. This used to last until the top of the hill, now she minds her manners and falls into the proper mode after the first block. I suspect she might be a little older than we first thought, and that someone, early on, had begun training her. She is bright enough, but no dog Einstein, not enough to have figured it out between one day and the next.

(To be continued)

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