21 October 2017

The Household Canine

Yes, we have a dog. His daily name is Max, but I've been told that his actual given name is 'Maximus'. Because of his habit of barking at every rabbit or squirrel that he sees, or at at every mouse he hears in the walls, I've added a surname, 'Barker', because he's the greatest barker. I would swear that sometimes, too, he barks just to enjoy the sound of his own voice. He'll be in the back yard, just standing there when suddenly he gives tongue without there being anything, at least obvious to me, to bark at.

He's normally well behaved except for his barking, but he does have a tendency to try to 'herd' us, which is not surprising, since he's a boxer-border collie mix. If one of us is taking him out and we take too long to get his lead affixed to his collar, he'll get behind us and gently bump our legs in an effort to encourage us to get a move on.

He does, occasionally relax, as you can see above, but his greatest joy is running. In the yard, he's on a 25' lead, so he's limited, but when we take him out into the country, by the Big Blue, or the Clatonia NRD lake, and let him out, it's run, run, run, and run some more! 

The only exception is at the lake if there are hunters or target shooters about. He's gun shy, and at the first loud noise, he starts back to the car, obviously expecting us to follow. The period around the Fourth of July is very trying for him, as well. There is a walk in closet between our two bedrooms that he uses as a den in which to hide from loud noises. He headed in there last night. I assume there was a high school football game in progress, because I had taken him outside and I could hear the cheers from the field. Suddenly there was a loud boom, I would guess to celebrate a touchdown by the local team, and he was ready! Normally, when I'm bringing him into the house, he sort of saunters, checking things out and sniffing the air. Not last night! He was straining at his lead to get back to his den.

The only other time that he strains at his lead to come back into the house is when the Other Half returns from work. He's quite aware that as soon as the humans' meal is ready, he gets to eat. The way he goes crazy would cause you to think that he's starving, instead of being sleek, and well fed on a diet of commercial dry dog food and homemade rice and hot-dogs in bouillon broth! Saturdays are especially frustrating for him (and for us!). She comes home at 15h00 instead of the normal 17h00, so we are not yet ready to eat. Obviously, his watch is broken, because he's ready to eat the moment she walks through the door!

She had had him for two or three years before I moved in, but he has bonded with me quite well. The other night, she playfully swatted me on my bum with an empty cracker box. He immediately ran to make sure I was alright, and he does the same if he thinks I'm 'attacking' her.

All in all, he's a joy to have around, even if he can be a pest at times. Earlier this month, we kenneled him whilst we went on holiday to see the children and grandchildren. We returned a day early, so there was one work day that she was gone, and there was no Maximus in the house. It felt strange and lonely. He's relaxing beside my chair as I type this.

I'd not had a dog for almost 15 years since I had to have my beloved Sam put down, but I'm glad Max has come into my life. As St Bernard of Clairvaux said,  “Qui me amat, amet et canem meum. (Who loves me will love my dog also.)”

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