It was cold outside this late afternoon; the rain couldn’t make up its mind to stay rain, or morph into sleet and even snow- so it did all three. I waited for Bryn to do her business and didn’t really notice- or feel- the wet weather, as a thick wool cap, covered by my winter coat’s hood, kept me dry and snug. I strolled around thinking about chord progressions for some music I was working on...
About ten minutes later we turned to go inside; Bryn picked up her pace, eager to eat her meal. I shed my boots, coat and sleet-crusted headgear and padded to the pantry. Kibbles and a treat were added to her bowl, and I set it in its place, next to fresh water.
"OK, Bryn. Your dinner’s ready: a little surprise is in there, too...”
Exactly then, things began to go weird. She stopped dead about ten feet away from her bowls, went into ‘statue’ mode, and looked at me. Not a whisker moved. Not. A. Hair. 20 minutes went by! I sat six feet away, trying to concentrate on my music, but those lovely brown eyes never once wavered from my face. I could feel them.
What was going on??
"Ah, silly Bryn, your dinner is just there. What’s with 'The Look?'” She finally blinked, but never once looked away. Thirty more minutes went by. I grew exasperated. “Bryn! Your dinner wants eating, for heaven’s sake!” Her tail moved just slightly, once.
She continued to look at me.
Really annoyed now, I pretended not to notice ‘The Gaze.’ But oh, it was hard. Those eyes do penetrate. And I was more than puzzled! She’d been absolutely motionless, now, for nearly an hour. I actually wondered if she was having a brain seizure.
Wouldn’t it be easier to sit and stare? Why stand and stare? Arghhh! My brain was seizing!
Just then, Joe came into the kitchen, having finished shoveling the porch and sidewalk. He patted statue-still Bryn- then commented in a surprised tone,Yuck! Got a towel? She’s really wet!”
I sat bolt upright. My God. I hadn’t touched Bryn when we’d entered the house. If I’d felt her fleecy white coat I would immediately have fixed things in the usual way.
She’d ‘statue-d’ in that one spot for over an hour, waiting for my realization that skipping a step wouldn’t do.
The normal procedure goes like this: After coming in from wet weather I always fetch her towel, wipe her down thoroughly, then pop into the bathroom for the hair dryer. She chooses a place, then I kneel where she settles and blow-dry her coat, a process she loves.
Only then does she happily eat her dinner.
I jumped up and apologized. Bryn knows what an apology is. I might step on her paws, eliciting a startled yelp, but I instantly make things right. And I’m instantly forgiven. She did that again now, dismissing my faux pas, happy that life was making sense again.
Chagrined, I went through the routine, towel-dried her, then used the hair dryer and finally combed her out (a ten-minute job in total), after which she trotted happily to her bowl, ate every scrap, drank deeply, asked me for a bully stick, and settled down to devour it.
How easy it was to speak sharply her, I mused- to lose patience, to assume I’m the superior one. Then, when I discover it is I who is missing a microchip---
My enormously patient dog is training me well, but the way she goes about it can be unnerving.