Friday, July 24, 2015

Red Crayon or Black Rubber Bone, It's All the Same to a Dog

Dogs can be a lot like kindergartners. No matter that there's enough red crayons for every student in the class. Kids always want the same one their friend has.

Vega and Reacher are much the same. No, they aren't two artful canines who create masterpieces with their paws. I'm not actually talking about red crayons here. I'm talking about black rubber bones.

Last week I ordered one Kong Extreme black rubber bone to make sure it withstood the Boxer jaw test. If a toy can hold up to Reacher's chompers, it will pretty much hold up to anything. I am happy to report this rubber Kong bone passed.

Of course, for the few days when there was only one black rubber bone, it was the most sought after toy in the house. I get it.

So, when the second new Kong Extreme bone arrived today, there were two bones, two dogs, two satisfied customers. Right?


Vega wanted the new bone. Reacher wanted the new bone. And only the new bone. The Kong Extreme original was within sight. And well within reach. But neither seemed to care. Just like the kindergartners and the red crayon, I don't get it.

Both bones are black. Both rubber. Both the same size. Both make the same wet, squeaky rubbery sound when chewed. And although I have no personal experience, I imagine they must taste pretty much the same.

The only difference? They arrived three days apart. Big deal.

And yes, apparently it is to a dog.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bad Luck and Trouble

It's bad luck when I leave the house and haven't done a visual sweep of the kitchen counter to look for napkins, paper towels, produce, plastic bags or anything else within paws' reach. It's equally unlucky when I may have checked the kitchen counter but overlooked every closet door in the house to make sure it's shut tight.

Bad luck always leads to trouble.

Bad luck.
Take today, for example. In his never-ending quest for mischief Reacher managed to find a slightly open closet door and then helped himself to part of a strap plus the front of a sandal while I was away. And not just any sandal, but the left one of a pair that I borrowed from a friend.

So there you have it. Bad luck and trouble. Which coincidentally is the title of the 11th book in the Jack Reacher series of novels by Lee Child.

According to the author, "He (Reacher) obeyed only the rules that made sense to him." 

The same goes for my Reacher character.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

And Then There Were Two

Where's Panzer?
My son and Panzer recently moved into their own place. So the three amigos are now down to two.

Lots of people have been asking what it's like without Panzer in the house. Honestly, it's a kinder, gentler place.

Panzer, no doubt about it, was the alpha dog. Reacher was at the bottom of the heap, trying his best to live under the radar every day.

So, I believe Reacher is enjoying this two-dog arrangement. He and Vega have rekindled their playful relationship. He loves playing tag and doesn't even mind when she catches him.

Vega may steal Reacher's ball or snatch a bone. But the difference is that she's more polite than Panzer ever was.

Of course, Panzer isn't here to roughhouse with Vega. There's no more dragging each other down the steps. Or slamming into a wall during a wresting match. There's no more Panzer to throw Vega to the floor. Or vice versa.

If Vega misses some of that she's not complaining either.

So now the house is back to two dogs plus a lady. It's a kinder, gentler place around here. But it's still a long way from an empty nest.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Silent Type

Of the three dogs, Panzer is the boisterous one of the bunch (see August 31, 2014 post). Vega barks with purpose. And Reacher is mostly mute. It's not that he's unable to bark. He just doesn't.

Any man, woman, child, dog or combination thereof, who passes by our house gets a mouthful from Panzer and Vega. But not Reacher. He simply stares, silently praying at least one of them will stop to play.

If there's an unexpected knock at the door, the two German Shepherds bark out a scary warning that's loud and clear. Reacher just waits to see who the visitor might be.

Deer grazing on the other side of the fence? Grab your earplugs. Panzer and Vega are about to go berserk. Reacher, on the other hand, is content to sit and study those white-tailed wonders.

Reacher never complains out loud when Panzer steals his bone. He stands quietly at the door and waits to be let outside. He doesn't sing for his supper. Reacher is simply the silent type.

In a house with a pair of barking manic German Shepherds, my two ears are grateful for that.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Mouth of the South

A rare quiet moment 
Nearly two years ago when Vega had her puppies, one of the things that surprised me most was the  noise eight little black fur balls could generate. It was as if she birthed a chorus! I am convinced Panzer was the lead singer.

He is the most vocal dog I've ever encountered. His repertoire goes way beyond the typical barking, growling and whining most dogs do. Panzer also squeals, whimpers, yelps, howls and shrieks, depending on his mood and the circumstance.

He launches into a full blown growling, barking frenzy whenever man and/or beast walks past the house. As for wildlife in the backyard, yelping and shrieking are his sounds of choice. Deer, squirrels, chipmunks and birds: Beware!

He squeals like a stuck pig when he believes he's being unfairly detained in his crate. And if he's happy to see you, there's plenty of whining, with a little whimpering thrown in for good measure.

He's also been heard howling in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. It seems Panzer even talks in his sleep.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Partners In Crime

Reacher and Panzer are definitely not best buds. That's because Panzer takes every opportunity to show Reacher who's boss. This involves the evil eye, the threatening growl and occasionally the full-on attack. Needless to say, much of Reacher's day is spent trying to live under the radar. 

Recently however, the two of them have found common ground: crime. While Reacher is known for snatching muffins, tomatoes and anything else on the kitchen counter that strikes his fancy, Panzer is self-restrained. At least in that regard.

Reacher started things off earlier this summer when he snagged the butter container from the kitchen counter. There's something about the sound of a plastic container slapping on the tile floor that got my attention so I headed downstairs.

When I rounded the corner to the living room, I caught not only Reacher, but Panzer enjoying the spoils. Together! Neither was too happy when I broke up their puppy party and took the empty butter dish.

A couple of weeks ago, the two of them teamed up for something completely different. Digging a hole under the deck. Together! If two hands are better than one, four paws are definitely better than two. The hole was amazingly deep.

Since then, I've caught the two of them sharing the crumbs at the bottom of a nearly empty cereal box and eyeing - but not eating - a jar of peanut butter.

Friends? I doubt that will ever happen.

Partners in crime? Now you're talkin'! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Assigned Seats

Vega's favorite office spot.
Maybe I should have said unassigned seats. You know what I mean. In college lecture halls, the same students always sit up front, while you can count on others to be perpetually in the back, or on the aisle or smack dab in the middle of the row. Ditto for church pews on Sundays and bleachers at summer Little League games.

It's pretty much the same in the dog world. At least at my house.

Find Panzer here in the evening.
Of course, with dogs it's mostly spots on the floor that I'm talking about. In my office, Vega's got my back. She lies against the wall behind my desk chair. Reacher is either under the desk or under the table because he must believe it offers some protection in case Panzer decides to launch an attack. As for the wild man himself, Panzer always choose the spot near the door so he can be the first one out each time he hears something (or thinks he does) that requires his frenzied attention.

The three of them have worked out similar arrangements in the kitchen. Vega is in the corner behind the table; Reacher is just outside the kitchen proper in the living room; Panzer is closest to the door. Of course.

In the evening, the dogs go in different directions, but always to the same spots. Vega keeps watch at the top of the stairs and Panzer lies outside my son's room. As you can see, Reacher prefers my bed at the end of a hard day, which is definitely not the spot I have assigned  him.

He thinks he deserves to be here.