I often have animated conversations with my dog. She’s a very accepting audience, and it clears my head to talk out loud to someone other than myself.
The longer I live and work alone, the more double-sided these solo conversations become. It’s sort of like playing with a marionette. I ask the questions and I provide the answers. It can go something like this:
(Me to my dog) “Didn’t I just buy you a bag of dog food? Where did it all go?”
(My dog to me) “Guess we should get the bigger bag next time, it’ll last longer.”
(Me to her) “Oops, we’re almost out of biscuits, too. You’re going to have to get a job to pay for all of this.”
(Her to me) “At least one of us should be working.”
Stuffed toys are to my dog like chocolate is to some people. When she knows it’s somewhere near, she has to have it. And once it’s in her mouth, she has to destroy it.
Like a typical golden retriever, Tasha first holds a stuffed toy with a “soft mouth.” This breed usually holds their prey tightly, but without too much pressure, so as not to actually pierce it. Sometimes they even drop what’s in their mouth.
Not my dog. No matter how big or small the stuffed toy, it doesn’t take Tasha long to get a good grip and start ripping it apart. She’s like a dog maniac on a short-lived mission.
I’ve tried hiding these fuzzy teddy bears, rabbits, and balls, but she can smell them. I wonder what stuffing must smell like.
I’m busy writing away upstairs. Last time I looked, it was 4:00 in the afternoon. Suddenly, I hear my dog Tasha get up off the floor next to me, she shakes, she moves in closer, and I can feel her expectant stare right on me. It’s 5:45, and the dinner routine is about to start–just 15 minutes from can-opening time, and somehow, she knows it. I might still be consumed with work, but at the witching hour, I have no choice but to pull myself away from the computer and out of my chair. I must trundle downstairs to attend to the needs of my dog.
I didn’t mean to train my dog to eat at such a specific time, but 6 o’clock it is–every night. On the dot. If I stay out late, I think Tasha sits beside her food bowl, waiting for me to come home and get on with it. She’s always right where she should be, sitting patiently (but not too patiently), and drooling to her heart’s content.
I’ve heard that it’s not good to feed your dog at the same time every night. I don’t remember where or why, but there’s no going back now. Tasha is set for life. Even when I go out of town and leave her in the care of a dog sitter or a friend, I’m told she’s as prompt as ever. The dog sitter or friend who doesn’t heed the hour is in for some substandard doggie behavior. There might even be some whining.