Now don’t get too excited. No one dies today. We just experienced general unhappiness.
Though I haven’t conducted true academic research on the subject, it is my understanding that German Shepherds typically latch onto one particular person in the
household pack. I am not that person.
It is Mom.
It is also very clear to me that Dandy Dog has a very well-developed sixth sense when it comes to understanding that, somehow, today the daily routine will be disrupted.
Thusly, so we found ourselves this Saturday.
Mom had plans to be gone from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. That means Dad has to conduct the morning walk, has to feed Dandy breakfast, and has to endure his forlorn, empty eyes — not staring at me, mind you — but absolutely fixated on the front door for hours on end.
Let me take you through the routine.
The Reluctant Walk. Have you even known a dog, any dog, not excited to grab a leash and head out the door? Then you haven’t met our dog. He is only truly interested in walking if it is with his Mom. With anyone else it is simply a Dog Charade, and it goes something like this. After much cajoling, he will mope over to whomever is holding his lead, not at all excited about the prospect of leaving the house. After being dragged outside, he will slowly, very slowly, walk down the hill on our street, pausing at great length at the first convenient bush.
I don’t mean ten seconds. More like forty-five or fifty. I know. I’ve counted. And then he’s been known to stop by the second most convenient bush and pretend. That’s right. He will pretend to do something. Like he thinks most of us Muggles are complete idiots and can’t tell. And after that, he feigns excitement that he has relieved himself and turns tail back to the house.
And the preceding cinema happens mainly with me. With any of the kids attempting the same activity, Dandy basically goes on strike. Oh, he might walk down the hill, but that’s it. No farther. He’ll just stand there with a dumb look on his face and refuse to move. In that way, he is smarter than us Muggles, since he knows the Younger Muggles will simply give up and allow him to lead the way back home.
The Hunger Strike. With Mom gone, no eating will take place. None. However, if a cat happens to wander by his bowl of Hardened Dog Kibbles, he will position himself strategically between the two so that his stash is guarded. He will only return to the carcass later in the day, when the pack is reunited.
The Thousand-Mile Stare. Dandy’s entire existence is spent by the front door on those days that Mom disappears. Perhaps he thinks she will never return, but he will sit, lie, and sleep by the door, finely attuned to any sound on the other side that even faintly resembles Mom’s van. His focus is intense, and can only be bested by sitting on his lead in the front yard, so that he has a commanding view of the road and his Mom’s potential return. Although if a delivery person happens to wander by, Dandy will be more than happy to try to attack him or her and kill.
The Walton’s Home for Christmas. That pretty much describes the scene when Mom returns. The sun comes out, the Red Sea parts, and John-Boy spreads good holiday cheer throughout the Walton household. Angels also sing.
How do I feel about it? Well, the whole deal is really pathetic, when I think about it. But then again, I’m not the object of Dandy’s affection.
I had a cat once that was attached to me in much the same way. He would wait for me to come home from work, would only eat if he was touching some part of me, and followed me around the neighborhood on walks. It is clear to me that my old cat behaved much like a dog might.
And Dandy? He’s somewhere between a cat, a wolf, and a Muggle.
Mom’s okay with that, and in Dandy’s world, that’s all that matters anyway.