Thursday, June 2, 2016

One-Dog Night

There was a time in my life, not that long ago, when I had four dogs, total weight about 240 lbs, and had no dog backchat at all. Now I'm down to one dog, 8 years old, less than 20 pounds, and she's trying to take over the world.

She has one weapon: persistence. You are never gonna wear this dog down. Usually at home she sleeps in her crate. She feels safe there with the door latched, to the extent that she insists we latch the door before she'll eat (we can leave food in her dish all day, and she'll ignore it until we latch her in with it) and gives us very dirty looks in the morning if we ever go to bed without latching her into her crate the night before. She mostly only wants to sleep in her crate: when I was in Florida, my husband tried to get her to sleep upstairs with him, only to have her sit bolt upright and staring beside his head until he gave in and took her back downstairs.

However, she dislikes thunderstorms. She could tolerate them when our other indoor dog was still alive. Now that she's alone, nothing doing. A storm brews up, and she begins to howl. She howls nonstop until either my husband or I get up and start down the stairs. We open the crate, she follows us back upstairs, and she sleeps our bed, usually on top of my feet.

We spent Memorial Day weekend at our house in the mountains of North Carolina. The dog loves the mountain house. It must smell fantastic up there, because she's all about sniffing through the woods for hours. We have a crate in the pool room--not a room with a swimming pool, a room with a pool table-just off our bedroom, and she used to be perfectly happy sleeping in it. Then we had guests staying in the room above the pool room, and she didn't like that, so she howled. Nonstop. Until we took her into our bedroom because we couldn't let her torture our guests.

The dog liked that. We've got a little armchair in the bedroom there, and the dog curled up on it and slept peacefully, disturbing no one. All was well for everyone even though the dog decided that the armchair beat her crate all hollow, and she was therefore going to howl every night until we let her sleep on the chair.

Can you see where this is going? We were fine with the dog sleeping on the chair. We even pondered getting a small dog-friendly chair for our bedroom at home. The dog, on the other hand, wanted an upgrade. Last weekend my husband put her on the chair. She jumped onto the bed. He moved her back to the chair. She jumped onto the bed. He moved her back to the chair. She jumped onto the bed.

We could see who was going to win this one. It wasn't my husband. "Maybe there's a storm coming," I said. The dog lay heavily across my feet. We left her there.

Next night, same thing. Third night, and my husband just picked her up and put her onto the bed. She settled down with a contented sigh.

Last night it stormed so of course she was in the bed with us, but I'm really wondering what tonight is going to bring.