What is it about a dog that makes him pick up a stick or a ball, and repeatedly toss it at your feet as though he wants to play Fetch, and then change the game the instant you try to take the offered gift? That is a favorite pastime of Grady The Golden, who currently graces our abode.
As soon as I try to take the object, or pick it up, he laughingly snatches it away, If I get hold of it, he waits for me to throw it, as though that’s what he wanted all along. Then he’ll fetch it and return, one might think to drop it at my feet. One would be wrong.
He circles about me, just out of arm reach. If I stand and ignore him, he closes in to brush against my leg, daring me to make a grab for the plaything. He pretends to not notice when I crouch to dog-level, nearly within range, then gracefully twists out of reach as I shoot out my hand to grab.
Grady has not yet learned to be discreet, and thus he eagerly has trained me to bend to his desires.
Suddenly, up he jumps, dashes over to me and puts his head on my lap. If I pet him, he’ll stand for hours, but we both know that’s not really what he wants; he’s only doing me the favor of allowing me to run my fingers through his fur.
As soon as I stop petting, he turns and heads for the door. If I don’t follow, back he comes, to allow me to pet him more, if that’s really what I want to do, but if I stand up, it’s off again to the door.
And when he is ready to come in he stands and taps gently at the sliding back door, and calls out in single staccato barks as though saying , “Hey.” “Hey.” “Hey.” Not full sentences, just single one-syllable shouts we should know by now means, “Someone open the door, please.”
Of course, if long enough ignored, he will open the door himself. But he’d rather get one of his landlords to open it for him, especially if I have just sat back down and it’s between commercials on a favored TV show.
Landlord is what we all are to our dogs. We run a bed-and-breakfast, and generally stand ever ready to more or less obey every canine whim. We feed them, open the door for them … and take them, when we can, on trips.
Let us begin thinking about an excursion – even if the only mention between us adult people has been while we were away from the house – and Grady immediately starts getting in the way. Everywhere I turn, there’s that red dog. Oh, he moves out of the way alright – but he uncannily knows exactly where to relocate so that it looks as though he is opening a path, when in reality he is blocking my next move.
And it only gets worse as we actually begin packing.
Finally, as I start dressing for public, he attaches his nose, Velcro-like, to my leg. He follows me upstairs and down, back and forth among the rooms. Until I put on a hat – then he lies down by the front door, where he has to move so I can open the portal and exit.
There is no missing his presence, or his desire to go along on whatever trip is afoot.
But one thing he has so far pretended not to have learned. We would like him to close the door behind him that he opens when he comes back in the house.