Monday, July 11, 2011

My Biggest Fan

I don't think I've ever had a being so smitten with me as my dog Hokie.

Keep in mind, I have four other dogs. Oh, and a husband.

The two Parson Russell Terriers -- well...they're terriers; totally mercenary. They're my best buds...until someone with a better offer comes around.

Then there is Topper (aka, "Toppergetdown"), who is like the Woody Allen of the dog world; neurotic and self-centered, you just know he's got this inner-dialogue going on: "Oh, jeese. There's that cat again drinking out of my water bowl. Yeah, fine, cat. Go ahead and leak your drool in my water. I'd say something, but she'd go and tell that other cat and they I'd have them both laughing at me..."

And, of course, there is Zsa Zsa, my constant companion who accompanies me everywhere. Zsa Zsa is welcome in houses where people don't even like dogs. She is the dog most petted by non-dog people. Zsa Zsa is perfect -- and, just when you think you've caught her being imperfect, it turns out that she was two steps ahead of you and her imperfection was deliberate, needed and, therefore, another example of her perfection.

In short, Zsa Zsa is better than me and she knows it. I am HER pet.

And, as for the husband...I think we both passed "smitten" a good 20 years ago. "Smitten" requires a certain blindness to faults -- something you can't keep up for that long a time.

But Hokie...

Good ol' Hokie...the baby of the bunch; the first-born of Zsa Zsa's last litter...the one we almost lost. The one everyone told us was merely "pet quality," but who blossomed after his first year (it's heart-breaking that we can't afford to show him).

Perhaps his devotion to me stems from the fact that, being one of the two least troublesome of that litter, he got the least amount of my attention. He goes where he's supposed to go when he is supposed to go there. He does what he's supposed to do when he's supposed to do it. So it's easy to take Hokie for granted.

Plus, he loves the outdoors. We've tried to get him to stay inside, but he's usually too hot (that panting) or too bored (that staring). He likes lording over the backyard, terrorizing birds and letting our landlord/neighbor know he's On The Job.

However, if I step foot outside, he's right there, ready to pounce.

In fact, the pouncing is a problem we're working on. I know how to deal with "jumping up." I couldn't understand why all the standard training methods didn't work on what he was doing, until I broke precisely what he was doing, which was a combination of happy leap and trying to get close. The usual "turning your back" method was useless -- back or front he was close and that was his goal.

He's gotten better, though it took some real creative training to break him of the habit -- and he still falls off the wagon.

Now he confines his interaction with me to sitting in worshipful attendance, fidgeting back and forth on his haunches. Granted, this is partly because, in order to break him of the pouncing (along with deliberately spending more time with him), I would sit at his eye level and call him to me, so there was no need for him to pounce. He will sit there for a long time like that and, when he finally does lie down into something like relaxation, I have merely to move a limb and he's up, fidgeting, anticipating.

More unnerving, is Hokie's stalker morning behavior. Both my bedroom and the bathroom window look out onto our back patio where we have a large, round outdoor table. In the morning, as I get ready, I flit back and forth between bathroom and bedroom. When I glance out the windows as I pass, I can see Hokie, sitting on the table, staring at either window and fidgeting with excitement if I make eye contact.

I suppose I should be flattered. I mean, all the dogs are usually happy to see me when I come home. But Hokie -- Hokie makes me feel like a rock star.

Hokie makes me feel like there could possible be something like Jeanne-mania

1 comment:

tom f said...

sounds like Hokie & his sister have a lot in common. We are gettong Becca a buddy in Oct who happens to have .Bayshore &Thornpple parents. Tom Ferrell