How I know that my dog really is more than just a dog.
I learned today that Frodo, our 12 year old Springer/Lab/Shepherd cross, is smarter than even I thought. This story also solidifies my perception of him as a grumpy old man.
I always knew he was smart. That is one of the reasons that I picked him to adopt.
He made up a game of his own when we first adopted him, back when the cats, Hemingway and Edgar were still alive. As one or the other of the cats were sleeping on the end of the sofa, Frodo would rub his body up and down the sofa. You know how cute they are when they do that. “Petting himself”, we used to think. Alas no. Frodo loves his pats, but he’s no dummy. He was building up a static electric charge. When he felt prickly enough, he would touch the cat with his nose. The sleeping cat would get a shock that would jump him out of his nap, and frightened, he would BOLT. Frodo chased the cat, Anja (our equally brilliant and much-loved German Shepherd who has now also passed on) chased Frodo, funfunfun. In short, we are able to brag that our dog is so smart that he harnessed the power of static electricity for his own use.
Frodo also loves laughter and applause. If something ONCE made me laugh, he will remember it and use it again to elicit giggles. When he was 2, I took him to an agility class. Part of agility is “the table”, where the dog must jump on the table and lay still for a certain amount of time. Since the rest of an agility run is so active, we were encouraged to shower our dogs with treats and praise at this portion. After a couple of shots at this, Frodo was SO in love with the table that, when asked to go there, he jumped from 6 feet away, almost straight into the air, landed smack-dab in a “down” in the centre of the table looking at me with his tail wagging. The entire class erupted into laughter and applause, so of course Frodo performed the table exactly the same every time after that. Cutie.
Back to today. I am sick. I got cold in the bedroom last night with the fan going, so instead of making Brian uncomfortable, I came out to sleep on the sofa. Brian woke up at around 8 am. He and Frodo did their usual morning routine, and then Frodo went and laid down in front of the tv. Brian sat at his computer and watched the following scene unfold;
I, asleep on the sofa, started snoring. The snoring gradually gets louder. After what I am told was a scathingly dirty look, Frodo gets up from his spot in front of the tv stand, moves beside me, and sits beside the sofa. I snore. he pokes me with his nose. I shift. I snore. He pokes. Snore. Poke.
This goes on until I move sufficiently to stop snoring, and he lays down again and goes back to sleep.
NO one could read this and say that animals don’t have feelings. It’s obvious that they get annoyed just like we do. And they can be cranky old men too.