Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Secret Life of Dogs


Ellen and I occasionally get to dog sit for our neighbors Dave and Deb's dog when they are out of town. Prince is getting on in years, entirely deaf, maybe a little lame, and easily tired on walks. He's as little trouble as a dog can be, except for something our neighbors say they don't see. It's his tendency to go just a little crazy now and then. Call it the secret side of Prince.

Bring Prince over to our house and sometime during his stay, he'll decide that he can't just let you sit there. He wants to do something. He'll stand in front of you and bark ... and bark. He'll come up to you and nudge you. Think he wants attention? Maybe, but there's nothing you can do from a seated position to occupy him. Stand up and he'll quiet down and watch you intently, but there's only so long I can watch TV standing up. Think he wants to go outside? Think again. Let him out in the fenced-in back yard and he'll insist on coming right back in. Think he wants to go for a walk? It would seem so, but let him out the front door and he makes a beeline next door to his own house. (Actually, it's not a beeline at all. He follows the sidewalks religiously.)

And that's Prince's secret -- it's that he doesn't have a secret life. No "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" when Prince comes to our house. Eventually, he decides he wants to go home. There, he's content again. You can even leave without him following you to the door. Most likely, he goes to the back door and sleeps until Dave and Deb come home. Maybe it's true that there's no place like home. Or that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

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