Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Complexity of Canines

Dogs are pretty complex critters.

I've mentioned here before that our Bouie is a real sweetheart, even though he tries to be a big, bad yard dog.  But, lately I've noted a remarkably kind, even thoughtful, side of his nature. 

Stick with me, as this might seem a little "odd," but remember that, even though we might think of Bouie (and treat him!) as a child, he is, after all, really a dog -- a boy-dog with boy-dog's habits.  So, by now I guess you've probably surmised that I'll be discussing his urination habits.  Yep.  But not like I did last summer when I related how he was systematically "watering" our foliage to death.

You might also remember that our 16 year-old Rosie is now blind, and that she walks in clockwise circles due to a series of strokes.  The combination of those two disabilities was a bit problematic when she finally lost all her vision.  You see, after she does her "piddle" business Bouie, being the boy-dog he is, has to check it out and "mark" it with a little of his own.  Sometimes, not being able to see where she was going, and believing herself to be walking away from her business, Rosie would clockwise-circle her way right into the big middle of Bouie doing his "marking."  That led to some canine sputtering on Rosie's part, and the need for a number of unplanned baths.

But lately, I've noticed that Bouie has altered his "marking" procedure.  Of course, he still must sniff and check out what Rosie has left behind, but now he does something unusual when she is circling nearby -- instead of directly "marking" what Rosie left, he moves over to a bush or a plant and does his "marking" there where Rosie is safe from a "downpour."  If he gets there after she has circled out of the danger zone, he'll go ahead and "mark" the actual stuff, but not if she's still in the bullseye.

No, I'm not making this up.

Maybe he has changed his actions because I've admonished him time and again to be careful of Rosie and not to "mark" her.  But, I choose to believe that he has made a conscious decision not to "inconvenience" his older, frail sister.  He's always been careful not to bounce into her or let her run into him while she's circling, but this is something else, something -- considerate, and loving.

Of course, he still noses her off the couch sometimes while he's sniffing her, but that's just boy-clumsiness.

He also doesn't wake me before sunrise to go outside when Pepper is away.  He's figured out that I'm not a morning person and will not take him for a pre-dawn walk just because he wants to play, like Pepper will, so he sleeps in, too.  (Actually, I kinda think that he does that "wake up, Dad, and play!" routine to make Pepper feel good about their relationship.  Plus, I kinda think that even Bouie likes to sleep in from time to time!)  We have an interesting family dynamic around here.

Yep, dogs are pretty complex critters.  And I thank God for giving them to us as companions.


  1. But, I choose to believe that he has made a conscious decision not to "inconvenience" his older, frail sister. I believe it too Moogie. Even though the girls can get pretty rambunctious every once in a while, when the old dog was still around they were always careful not to knock her over.

  2. My male rat terrier often marks our female great Dane when she is snoozing in the yard - makes me crazy.

  3. I have stories of kindness and consideration with my dear departed pups, too. And TSMP swears our dogs talked directly to her (and she to them) and she understood them. I kinda buy into that, in a small way.

    The thing about Bouie? To me? His coat is just SO lustrous and beautiful! The boy is almost TOO pretty to be male.

  4. My boy doggie doesn't mark the girl doggie on purpose. But neither is he real discriminant about where he goes, and the girl doggie sometimes has her blond moments. Try to walk both of them at the same time and well, you can connect the dots.

  5. I now we're right, Deb!

    Sounds like there's a little "size" envy going on there, Lou!

    He is a handsome lad, isn't he, Buck?

    Maybe you should walk them through a car wash, Inno!