When I was growing up, I would often envy our cairn terrier, Norman, in the morning. While we were all getting ready for school or work, and eating breakfast in an icy cold kitchen, Norman was comfortably ensconced behind the chair in the living room, about five inches from a radiator blasting heat. I'd stop by to give him a pat on my way to the kitchen, and he would be hot to the touch. And snoring. And looking quite comfortable and content with the leisure of his day.
Nowadays, I often find myself envying this guy, and his ability to get a quality snooze. A cat sleeping on the windowsill in the sun is about as comfortable as it gets:
I don’t know whether this is a specific talent of Dorothy’s—since I never thought to try playing it with my pug—but Dorothy is a dab hand at hide and seek. It is really quite impressive! We show her the toy we are going to hide and let her give it a good sniff. Then, one of us has to hold Dorothy back, while the other goes and hides the toy in the other room. When it is hidden, we release the hound, so to speak, and Dorothy goes charging off to find the toy.
She really uses several senses to help her find it. First she looks all around the room at the usual spots. If she doesn’t see the toy with her eyes, all of a sudden – vroomp! – her nose goes vertically up in the air, and she uses this vertical nose position to get in the vicinity of the toy. Once she calculates that it is nearby – schwoomp! – the nose goes down to the ground and she starts sniffing the trail of the toy until her nose leads her to it.
And all this generally takes her about 30 seconds. She really seems to enjoy it too—she gets all excited and pants and can’t wait to figure out where the toy is next. Dorothy likes to use her brain and figure things out. She’s a smart bulldogge!
Dorothy with stuffed donut, triumphant:
I can't explain my success; it just comes naturally.
I was thinking today of the cat quip that one hears every now and then about how “dogs have masters; cats have staff.” Being raised a dog person, and never living with a cat until I got Plum six years ago, I would have thought I’d be immune from becoming the staff/slave of my cats. Sadly, this is not true.
I realized that whereas I really have no compunction against gently shoving Dorothy over when she is being a bed hog or resting her loudly snoring snout right up against my ear, I will basically become a contortionist in the same bed so as not to disturb Posy in her chosen sleeping spot—which is inevitably some inconvenient horizontal location smack in the middle of the mattress.
That's right, bitches!
And when I am preparing food at my one square footage of counter space in my kitchen or washing dishes at the sink, and Plum decides to sit right in front of said counter or sink, I will walk around him or straddle over him or move my food prep to the top of the oven instead of just giving him a shoo! or a kick.
Note how the tail is placed for maximum inconvenience:
I’m beginning to think a cat’s purr is not a purr only, but some kind of evil hypnosis. If I start spending all my money on sweetmeats for my two furry bosses and fill my apartment with cat climbing trees, someone please stage an intervention. Just don’t look directly into my cats’ eyes while doing so.
This week I had an all-day meeting I had to attend at work. I went back and forth between thinking I should have the dog walker come and attend to Dorothy, or thinking it wasn’t really necessary (Dorothy likes the dog walker, but she doesn’t like to walk with the dog walker, so it is all a bit of a hassle.)
I finally decided that I would see what happened if Dorothy was left out free-range with no noon-time walk. My pug, Tulip, was home alone for long stretches when she was Dorothy’s age, and all was fine.
Before I left in the morning, however, I did a run-through of my apartment to make sure that there was nothing that Dorothy might decide to chew. She generally no longer chews what she shouldn’t (except for the occasional item of dirty laundry), but I still put the trashcan up high and put away some of her more dilapidated toys.
We gave her an extra walk in the morning and then left at 8:30. I returned at 4:30 and wondered what I would find. First, I was given a very wiggly and happy greeting by Miss Dorothy. She came trotting to the door and was very pleased to see me. But when I got further into the room, I noticed something suspicious on the floor: something had been chewed to bits, but I wasn’t sure what it was. Once I gathered all the pieces, I realized it was Sean’s work I.D., which he must have dropped on the way out. Dorothy had filled the hard plastic with teeth marks, ripped off a few choice bits, and managed to fish out the microchip inside. She had also denuded the I.D. of it’s neckband and pin.
When I exclaimed, “Oh, Dorothy, what have you done?” she immediately rolled over guiltily and showed me some submissive belly. She always knows when she has done something naughty! Luckily, she hadn’t swallowed any of the pieces that I could tell (she generally is not an eater, just a chewer—it is Posy that tends to come along and start eating the pieces of whatever Dorothy has chewed apart). All in all, I consider her stay at home alone and free-range a success—although Sean is now in the process of getting a new I.D.
Dorothy thinking, if I destroy his I.D., then he won’t be able
to go into work and he’ll have to stay home with me!
Dorothy has prodigious jumping skills. I know I'm biased, but really--Bulldogge Can Jump. We would like to enroll her in an agility class eventually, and I really think she would love it.
In the meantime we keep her limber by having her jump for sticks outside (and on to benches and walls) and for toys indoors.
I tried to capture Dorothy flying through the air on film, but my camera is very slow. Here are two pictures of her towards the beginning of her jumps, though, and they do show how she can get quite airborne.
Not a bird, not a plane, but a bulldogge! Go, Dorothy, fly like an eagle!
To Dorothy, there is no greater pleasure than finding a worthy stick. It is nearly impossible for her to pass by a stick on the sidewalk or ground and not pick it up. And then, once it is in her mouth, she has no compunction against stopping right where she is in the middle of the sidewalk, lying down, and giving the stick a good gnaw or two.
Her liking for a stick comes in handy when I am trying to walk her back from the dogpark and she goes on a walk strike by flopping over on to her side. If I can spot a stick nearby while Dorothy is in recline, I can pick it up and carry it just above her jumping reach, and she'll follow me all the way home making repeated circus-dog attempts to hover by my shoulder and grab the stick.
Once we get a few blocks away, I'll usually let her carry it. Sometimes, she'll find a stick in Rittenhouse and carry it herself, all stick-proud. Of course, people laugh, especially if the stick is bigger than she is...but Dorothy knows they are just jealous.
It has been brought to my attention by a reader who also happens to be Dorothy’s granny that Dorothy’s bed looks a little, well, petite for her.
And I cannot argue the point. Dorothy does look like a muffin-top in this bed, and the look is a bit ridiculous. However, I do feel the need to point out that Dorothy currently has 4 other, large and larger beds that she could choose to lie in.
But a good portion of the time, Dorothy will choose the small bed and cram her muscular body into it. I guess the girl likes to feel swaddled, or perhaps in her mind she is a petite delicate flower. And who am I to argue with that?
Dorothy dreaming of violets, buttercups, lilies of the valley....
One of us in this household likes to sing in the shower. Although to say she "sings" is putting it nicely. Some might call it caterwauling; others, raising an ungodly racket.
I'll be in another room when all of a sudden I hear a loud wailing coming from the bathroom. A few years ago I would have gone running, but I've learned by now that it is just Miss Posy Fern singing arias in the tub. Perhaps she likes the resonance of the tiles? She certainly knows that it is a safe spot--since neither Plum nor Dorothy will follow her into that evil container.
So Posy gets her groove on, while the other family members wince a bit.