Like many of you, I find myself stuck at home unable to work due to the pandemic. My dog Brody doesn’t see all the human suffering going on. He only knows I am spending a lot of time with him. On our walk today someone in our community took the time to set out some words of encouragement Brody sniffed out. As we remain isolated, may you stay safe, healthy and find peace.
Heavy winter snowfall creates unique challenges for a small short-legged dog. This does not dampen his enthusiasm however. After donning his favorite sweater, Brody begs to venture out. My snowblower creates a path, allowing him to happily bound along scooping up the icy moisture with his tongue.
I have a greater understanding of the phrase, “you can’t live with ‘em, you can’t live without ‘em.” We’ve been vacationing in Florida this past week. Though we’ve had a great time, I’m missing my buddies Jake and Brody. They stayed behind with our sitter.
I miss Brody’s watchful eyes as he follows me everywhere, and him yanking me along as he walks on a leash. I miss Jake trotting faithfully by my side with a slack leash, and coaxing him out of hiding so we can pen him up.
It amazes me how treat oriented dogs are. They will preform any task for the reward. Brody is no exception. Though we haven’t taught him a host of tricks, his go-to stunt is sitting up on his hind legs and dropping his front paws. Perhaps he believes he’s too cute to resist (and he’s right).
At our house treats fall into two categories, “treats” and “chew-chews.” The mere mention of the word “chew-chew” evokes mayhem. Brody and Jake will go nuts for 1/2 a chicken substitute chew (comparable to rawhide but better for their digestive system). For Brody, its barking and a classic pose. Jake spins round and round, joining in the chorus of barks.
As a pet owner I use this love for treats to my advantage whenever possible. If our dog gets loose outside, I mention the word “treats” and abracadabra he comes back. When we are in a hurry to leave the house and Jake goes into hiding, “treats” brings him out. After a long day at work and I simply want to collapse on the couch I have been known to utter the word “chew-chew.” Jake and Brody’s pleas for attention evaporate and order is restored to the universe.
Brody is the first dog I’ve owned that “rings a bell” when he wants to go outside. He doesn’t actually ring a bell. Attached to our back door is a set of horizontal blinds extending to within a foot of the floor. Brody rattles them when wants to go outside. If my wife and I are watching TV and fail to heed the sound of the rattling blinds, he will jump up on the couch, climb in my lap and start licking my hands or face. If that doesn’t attract the necessary attention he gets back off the couch and moves to a spot on the living room floor halfway halfway between the couch and the back door and starts barking.
“He’s a smart dog,” you might be inclined to say. But when Brody is bored he does this five or six times in the span of half an hour and it becomes like a game.
Once outside it’s our hope Brody will do his business. The matter gets complicated if it’s raining. I’ve never seen a dog so inhibited to walk on wet grass in the rain. He will walk the full length of our garden retaining wall, touching down on the wet grass only after I exhort him continually. Yes, I have to don rain gear and stand out there with him to keep him from sneaking up onto the back porch before the job is done.
Snow is a different matter, Brody loves it. During the winter months he signals us more than ever, anxious to go outside and frolic in the white stuff.