Monday, April 14, 2008

Doggie Diversions

Gracie may be nearly a year old now, but she’ll always be Baby Gracie. Hoover has finally gotten used to her and her ways, for the most part, but the Baby has one toy that still drives him nuts. (For Hoover, being driven nuts means that he raises his head, looks at her, looks at me, looks back at her and snorts disgustedly, as if to say, “Do you see what she’s up to? Honestly!”) It’s her pink squeaky dumbbell. She loves that toy. She hasn’t put so much as a tooth through it because she loves to run around squeaking it at everyone.

Shortly after we’d first adopted her, and she’d worn out poor old Hoover, she’d grab her pink squeaky, walk over to him, lay the toy on his EAR, and then squeak it like mad. This was a game to her. To Hoover, it was possibly cause for deafness. I only saw him show irritation once – he sat up and growled at her. She peed in submission, put her tail between her legs, and went to hide with her squeaky in her crate. Hoover looked ashamed of himself.

As a result of squeaky overload, we have to ration Baby Gracie’s squeaky time, or we’d all growl at her. When she’s particularly bored (read “dumpster diving and gnawing dishtowels”) I give her back the beloved toy for a few hours.

Last week, after the kids had gotten home from school, Baby Gracie was showing all of us her wonderful squeaky. Hoover was sick to death of it, but he just snorted a couple of times at her. Bunny got tired of the squeaky and diverted Gracie with a tennis ball and a game of indoor fetch. While Gracie was off getting the tennis ball from another room, Hoover ambled over to the squeaky, carefully picked it up and ambled into the den. He was gone a couple of minutes. When he came back, he sat down near me, looked at me, and laughed. He also looked smug. I looked at Bunny and said, “I think he just hid Gracie’s squeaky!”

Bunny went to check and found that Hoover had not just taken it into the den, he had put it behind a box, where it would be hard to find. She giggled with laughter as she was telling me about Hoover’s craftiness, and gave him a big hug and a scratch. I was going to put it down to mere luck that the squeaky toy wound up behind a box, but later than evening, Gracie found it again.

She came leaping and bounding through the living room, flying around the room, squeaking for all she was worth. After about 20 minutes of loud squeaking, hubs got a little tired of it and tried to take it away from her, but she stayed just out of range. Hoover had been lying on the couch, watching her in disgust. He finally oozed off the couch and ambled out of the room. I said to hubs “Guess he couldn’t take the squeaking any more.”

About 3 minutes later, with Gracie still on the squeaky warpath, Hoover came back into the living room and sidled up to hubs. He dropped a tennis ball next to his foot and, clearly not intending to play fetch, went back to his couch and lay back down. I was a little surprised, and told Hubs about the tennis ball diverting Baby Gracie from her squeaky earlier, and what Hoover had done with it. He said, “I think I can take a hint!” and the next time she dashed by him, he chucked a tennis ball for her. She dropped her pink squeaky and went for the ball. Hubs grabbed the squeaky and hid it behind a couch cushion. Hoover let out a sigh of relief and went to sleep.

I’m pretty sure our old dog has taught us a new trick.

Oddball Word of the Day

feckless (FEK-lis): adj. reckless; inefficient, incompetent; without worth or spirit; indifferent

(from the dictionary of MMMW edited by Laurence Urdang)