“I’m off to take my dog out at lunch!” I’ll say as I leave work. Dorothy, however, seems to misunderstand that phrase. I’m afraid she hears: “I’m off to take my dog out TO lunch!” and begins to picture the Russian Tea Room, say:
Or a fancy buffet:
Dorothy would much prefer some caviar and borscht in the Russian Tea Room or some goodies at a buffet to a walk in the hot city sun. But she soon learned that she was mistaken, and that our walks around the block were for walking’s sake, and not a journey to a bountiful kitchen. So now when I get home and greet her, she doesn’t even lift her head, although her eyes will open and swivel in my direction. I will open the door of her crate, go find and say hello to the cats, and perhaps look through my mail, all while Dorothy remains in crate-sleeping position, without moving a muscle. I’ll put on her leash, and this is what happens:
She is hardly a racehorse chomping at the bit to get out the gate. In fact, I usually have to bribe her with a treat or two to get her up and moving.
We walk around the block slowly. If she is lucky, she will get to kiss many admirers. If I am lucky, she will deign to finish the block with only minimal sitting.
Nowadays, when we return to the apartment, she will go into the bedroom and stretch out on the bed with a toy for ten minutes. She likes to stretch all the limbs that don’t get to be stretched while in the crate. Here she is enjoying her uncrated luxury, with one of her favorite toys, a stuffed rat:
One day soon, I tell her, when she becomes a more trustworthy sort – the kind, say, who doesn’t torment kitties, rummage through the garbage, or chew Items That Belong To Others – she will be able to have the run of the apartment for the entire day. But she is not that sort, yet! So in the meantime, she has to brown-bag it in her crate for the afternoon; and it is one of the very good things about Dorothy that she has always liked being in her crate, even if the coming out of it at noon remains an effort that only receives a C+.