3/25/18: The Thinker
In the last, bitterly cold week Bryn-dog really wanted our attention. Alas, we were otherwise occupied. So, she developed a very interesting way to divert our minds – and bodies- to doggie matters.
Here’s how it went.
Bryn is normally undemonstrative. Her tail will rise slightly to form a more pronounced comma, and wag once when she greets us, often with her orange musical snake dangling from her mouth. She’ll toot it in various interesting ways while her eyes light up. Today though, she really wanted to play with us outside, not just make her snake sing while we watched.
In our defense, it was really cold outside, in the teens, with lots of snow; her humans clearly preferred art’s gentle pursuit near the fire...Bryn, though, loves snow. She loves us in the snow, dashing about along with her.
She began asking for our attention in the usual way, with a very gentle nose bump on Joe’s leg. He glanced down, smiled, fluffed her ears, and carried on demonstrating how to work out an intricate chord on the guitar.
She sighed. Moved to me. Nose-bumped my knee almost imperceptibly. I responded the way Joe had, knowing she’d eaten, done her business, and enjoyed a bully stick for dessert. Anything else could wait a bit.
I watched her move to the window to think.
How could she move our complacent, too comfortable selves outside...?)
She sat, staring out the window.
Remembering where she’d hidden something we valued, a long time ago...
After a good while she came back to Joe, bumped him gently again, and captured his gaze.
Her eyes moved east, to the front door.
Please, Boss; I want out.
That look is easy to interpret. Joe got up and opened the door. Bryn raced out and bounded through the snow to somewhere behind the garage and workshop.
We took up where we’d left off, working out chords.
A few minutes later I felt her eyes boring into me through the glass front door. Bryn wanted in.
I got up and opened it. But instead of entering, she remained just outside- to drop her long-lost Frisbee at my feet.
She looked up at me, hopefully. Her tail twitched.
What?? That thing had vanished ages ago! She’d hidden it somewhere out there early last December, after we’d tossed it just once, hoping against hope...
Bryn isn’t keen to retrieve.
Now I examined it. After being stashed in deep snow for months it still looked fine. So, I flung it out, as requested. She dashed after it- and brought it straight back again to drop right at my feet.
I was shocked! This had never happened before!
“Hey, Joe!” I called. “You won’t believe this. Bryn’s resurrected her ‘lost’ Frisbee; she wants us to throw it!”
“What? Why bother? She never ever brings it back!”
Well, she’s doing it now. Come see!”
Joe came, saw, and, looking baffled, tossed it to see for himself. Bryn galloped away, pounced on it with great enthusiasm, then raced back in double time so we wouldn’t close the front door, thinking she wasn’t coming back with it.
Plop. It was placed at his feet. She sat, enjoying his astonished reaction. Her tail wagged once.
My Lord! What was happening here?
We stood in the open doorway holding our breaths, too flummoxed to remember to close it, too surprised to shiver, or even don our coats. Our mouths hung open. We found ourselves applauding as she fetched and then delivered it right to us, time after time.
But- and here’s the topper- after ten or so perfect retrievals she began to place it one porch step down- then two, then all three steps- still directly in front of us, mind you, but jusssst far enough away so we’d be lured down onto the sidewalk to retrieve it, so she could...
My hair prickled.
Finally snapping out of our stupor, we belatedly shrugged on our winter gear, and flung that cloth Frisbee over and over from different areas of the yard, then cheering her on as she charged after it.
Bryn was absolutely delighted! She ran and jumped and plowed through the snow for a long time, happy to bring it back. Once she even snatched it out of mid-air! Not a few times we pretended to chase her, or threw the Frisbee to each other while she tried to get it. We froze, but had a rollicking good time.
Later, watching her sleep upside down in her nest, we quietly reviewed, in properly awed voices, how cleverly we’d been manipulated.
-She’d known all along how the ‘fetch it’ game worked, but simply hadn’t been interested before today. But she knew what game we liked.
-From deep within her brain she’d retrieved the memory of precisely where that Frisbee was buried.
-It would be used to lure us outside, one step at a time...
-She’d set her plan in motion.
It was wildly successful!
Sometimes our doggie blows us away...