Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dog Trilogy: Part III Maddie, Part II

Maddie's first act at home was to bless HOB's study with a large steaming gift she had apparently been saving for a long time. Why she chose there I will never know. I cleaned it up quickly and prayed that wouldn't happen again.

I took her to the vet the next day to check her out. She had the black tongue of a chow and that worried me since we had been warned against chows around kids. The vet proclaimed her healthy, estimated her age at four years old and said that whatever retriever was in her outweighed the chow in temperament. We made the appointment to get her spayed.

Maddie (we had named her on the way from the pound) made herself at home right away. We quickly learned that she had three priorities:

1) Eating

2) Walking

3) Procuring affection

1) Eating: Eating is Job One with Maddie. She adores her food and begins intense observation of the bed at approximately 5am to detect any movement at all of the humans who can be propelled out to the food bowl. Since her first day with us, she has made it clear that this is our duty: to supply her with food. The smell of bread in particular drives her to distraction.

2) Walking: When you are at our house you must never stand for more than three seconds in the entry way. This indicates "walk" to Maddie. You must never say the word "walk" (use "alkie-way" instead.) Do not place a baseball cap on your head. I have to hide to put on a particular pair of shoes that she relates to walks. When we first got Maddie, my goal in life was to wear her out on our walks. One mile did not do it. Two miles did not do it. Three miles did not do it. I was the one worn out.

One evening the four of us took her to a nearby park where there is a large series of tennis courts. The courts are not sectioned off from one another so there is a large expanse of concrete. Dan and Evan got on one end of the courts and Sonny Boy and I got on the other one. We took Maddie's leash off and Sonny Boy and I called her from HOB and Evan's end. She came running full tilt to us. Then HOB and Evan called her and she turned and ran as fast as she could to them. Back and forth she ran for over twenty minutes. We thought we had worn her out completely, but after a short rest, she was ready to go again.

A few times we had the plan that both HOB and I would take her out for a walk, but for some reason or another, one of us would come home earlier. This did not work at all. Maddie stops and refuses to go on until all who were with her in the beginning of the walk are assembled again.

Now that she is older she has slowed down on her walks and we CAN get her worn out, sometimes too easily. She still lives for that nightly walk and at the door her enthusiasm knows no bounds when it we grab that leash and she gets to go on her alkie-way.

Next Time: Discussion of Maddie's Third Priority in Life: Procuring affection.

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